Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving REWIND

Hey all,

So how was your Thanksgiving? How about your long weekend if you were lucky enough to get one? How about Black Friday? Are you a Be-there-at-4:00am-and-buy-everything-in-sight person, or a Do-I-look-like-I’m-crazy?-I-think-I’ll-stay-at-home-and-sleep person?

As for me, even though I had another blog planned for today, since my holiday didn’t turn out to be anything like I’d mentioned last Wednesday, I thought I should let you know how things turned out.

It was an interesting day. As I told you before, Jonathon worked, and I was planning this nice meal for us—without turkey—because it was sooooo bloody expensive. Then, as I’m ready to head to the store on Wednesday evening to get all the stuff, I get a phone call from my sweet baboo. He tells me that HE will take care of Thanksgiving dinner. That I’m not to worry my pretty head about it. (Well, he didn’t say it quite that way, but you know what I mean. *snerk*)

So, since I’m always happy NOT to be the one doing the cooking, I waited. And when Thursday afternoon rolled around and he arrived home sans any foodstuffs, I had a feeling his way of taking care of it was taking ME out to dinner. Not that I mind going out usually, but I’d had my tastebuds set on a real Thanksgiving supper with all the fixins’.

Well, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when he told me to get dressed and within a half hour we were sitting down at a wonderful buffet at the MGM casino. And guess what? They had…

TURKEY!!!!!! (CJ does the rabbit—or should I say—turkey dance) Turkey, Turkey, Turkey, Turkey!!!!!!!

And all the trimmings. Mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, giblet gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, veggies like corn, carrots, beetroot and salads, and fresh made sesame rolls. The only thing they didn’t have was green bean casserole, so I’m gonna make that sometime next week.

Even better, they had all kinds of other food as well. So we were able to not just have our special Thanksgiving dinner (did I mention I danced?), but we were also able to try out a whole bunch of other delicious dishes. I had sushi (Jonathon hates it, so I did that all on my own), and he had several types of seafood casseroles that I tasted. And then there was rack of lamb, a huge ham, fruit, many different breads and muffins, soups, fresh crab, lobster, clams and mussels and…the list goes on and on.

Plus, they had every kind of Thanksgiving dessert you can imagine. (Okay…I admit it…I danced again.) Pumpkin pie (not so hot), cranberry-apple pie (yummy, but I make better), pecan tarts (delicious), chocolate mousse made with Baily’s Irish cream (oh-my-God-I’m-in-love good), egg custard (Jonathon liked it), and about twenty other desserts from green tea pudding to cheesecakes.

So, I have to say, I think I like it when Jonathon makes Thanksgiving dinner. LOL

Rossio—in the MGM—was the name of the restaurant we visited. The atmosphere was quiet and enjoyable and the staff excellent. Attentive, but not overly so. And, of course, the food was just awesome.

The wonderful night almost made up for the fact we missed out on the Macy’s Day Parade and the traditional football game. It helped soothe the pain of not being with my kids for the first time in their lives. And knowing my sweetheart loved me enough to find a place that had turkey for me to munch on, made this Thanksgiving Day one of the best we’ve ever had.

Share your holiday story in the comments below, and stay tuned for Wednesday’s blog when I see if you are a REAL reader or not! *grin*

Hugs to all,

CJ England  

Follow Your Dreams

Friday, November 26, 2010

Copyright or Copywrong?

Hey all,

It's Friday and that means another wonderful guest blogger.  Today I have the awesome Mina Kelly, a fellow Loose Id author.  She has an informative post about copyright issues that can be helpful for all of us.  Authors and non-authors alike.  

But before we get into that, let's get to know Mina a little bit.  This comes from the Loose Id website...

Mina Kelly lives in one of England's most historic cities. During the day she cooks from Roman recipes and swings medieval swords, trying to convince the tourists that history is more than just a pretty background to a photograph. From this she draws inspiration for her mixed up myths and flirtatious fairy tales, and has an especial fondness for things that go bump in the night.

So now we know a little more about Mina, so let's see what she has to say to us.  Please join me in welcoming author Mina Kelly to my blog!


Since the Cooks Source debacle, I thought it might be a good time for a quick refresher on copyright. It's up to individuals to keep themselves up to date; as with any law, ignorance is not excuse for breaking it, as Judith Griggs found out.

A lot of people confuse copyright infringement and plagiarism, so, firstly, the difference:
Plagiarism - taking someone else's work without proper attribution
Copyright Infringement - taking someone else's work without proper permission

'Someone else's work' is as straightforward as it sounds. It doesn't matter if it's a blog post online, a shopping list, or a worldwide bestselling novel. If you didn't write it, you need to be very careful about using it.

In most countries copyright expires 70 years after the creator's death, unless it's owned by a company or the copyright holder can't be identified, in which case in the UK it's 70 years after creation and in the US 95 years or 120 after first publication, whichever expires first (and even then there are still some exceptions, like Peter Pan and Great Ormond Street Hospital). There's only two ways a work can enter the Public Domain: when the copyright expires, or if the copyright owner decides to put it there. Putting something on the internet does not make it Public Domain, any more than publishing it in a newspaper, paying someone to shout it from the rooftops, or hiring a plane to sky-write it would.

In the US, you're encouraged to register copyright, which is something very few other countries bother with. Even unregistered, you still have the copyright and in most circumstances it's fairly easy to prove that, but should you find yourself in a position where you need to prosecute someone for infringement you'll find it much harder to recoup any losses if you or your publisher haven't registered copyright.

Copyright gives the creator of a work power over how it is used. They can control what mediums the work appears in, what royalties they get from it, and how other people use it. Copyright applies to: “original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, sound recordings, films, broadcasts or cable programmes, and the typographical arrangement of published editions.” The copyright owner has the right to right “to be identified as author or director, to object to derogatory treatment of work, and the right to privacy of certain photographs and films”. Copyright does not cover titles or slogans (these need to be trademarked), processes (need to be patented) or ideas (just deal with the fact that with seven billion people in the world it's not uncommon for two of them to have the same idea at once).

Always check when signing contracts. You'll find some scams (and some legitimate businesses who don't understand the law, which is just as bad) have contracts that actively try and take your copyright away from you. In almost every conceivable circumstance this is a sign to walk away, fast. However, if you work in an office, you'll probably find your job contract cedes the copyright of anything you produce at work to your employers (unless you're a freelance contractor).

This is mainly so you can't take the work you've done there - the database you built or the form letters you wrote or the logo you designed - to your next job. It includes any writing you do when the phone's quiet or those doodles you scratched out while waiting for the photocopier repair man. Most businesses won’t care, further than the fact you’re not working, but it does give them rights over your work that they could exercise if they wished.
On the flip side of copyright, there's also 'Fair Use'. This gives you the right to reproduce certain parts of a copyrighted work for some very well defined reasons:

- research and private study
- reviews, criticism and news reporting
- education and instruction
- libraries and archives
- judicial proceedings
- parody

There are generally considered to be limits regarding the amount of a work that can be quoted (the amount depends on the medium and the copyright of that country), and it must always be credited. Works of parody must be sufficiently different to the original so as not to cause confusion. It must always be perfectly, absolutely clear that the copyrighted material belongs to the copyright owner, and not the person using it. Derivative works, such as fanfiction, do not generally fall under Fair Use.

If you're looking for more information, most countries put these kinds of acts online. The UK's HERE and the US's HERE. I'm going to be a bit partisan and tell you the UK's is considerably easier to understand, which is something I'm finding is true throughout both governments' websites (I've been applying for an ITIN so I don't get taxed in both countries for the same novella, and it turns out when it comes to plain English, it's the English that do it better!). If you're ever uncertain about a matter of copyright, try to establish who the current copyright holder is. If you can't, it's usually best to play it safe and avoid using the copyrighted work altogether. Simply crediting it only means you've avoided plagiarising the creator, not that you haven't broken the law, and you could find yourself facing the kind of backlash Cooks Source did, and being used as an example in guest blogs like this one!

Great information there for those who want to understand why we authors are up in arms about piracy and those stealing our stories for their own use.  We aren't crazy, nor are we greedy.  All we want is our just due.  So please take a moment to check out the links Mina has given so you can see why copyright is so important and why copywrong hurts us all!

Find out more about Mina and her work by going to her website HERE.  Or check out her latest work, TEASE at Loose Id.

See you on Monday for another blog on something or someone.  LOL  Have an awesome weekend!


CJ England  

Follow Your Dreams

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving? Where are You?

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude. 
 ~~~E.P. Powell

Hey all,

For a lot of my readers, Thursday is a very special day.  Tomorrow, many of you will go over the river and through the woods to Grandma's house.  Or, for the majority of people, down the freeway and into the city!

This is the first time we've been out of the country on Thanksgiving.  We've traveled before, of course, even lived in other countries, but somehow we always made it back into the states for the holidays. So tomorrow will be the first that I as an American have spent in another country on such a HUGE American holiday.

We weren't sure what we were going to do for the celebration.  I mean.  First of all, it's just us two, and Jonathon has to work that day.  We've got a few American friends here, namely, my lil bro Wade, but he works late on Thursday.  (he's head rigger for the show)  And since I'm being very careful with my diet right now...I don't want tons of food lying around the house.

But we have to do something, right?

Yet...while there are copious amounts of dead ducks, chickens and don't pigeons, literally hanging around for consumption, we'd yet to see any turkeys.  And what about pumpkin pie?  Not like there is a pumpkin patch in downtown Taipa.

So, we thunk and we thunk and we finally had decided to just have ham (which is sooo wrong--my family ALWAYS did turkey) and apple pie along with the usual stuff.  We tried to get together with our friends and that didn't work, so we'll go it just the two of us.

And then I went to the grocery store and there... sitting in a pile in the meat department was (cue music and beautiful light shining down from heaven) a stack of Butterball turkeys.  I almost went to my knees and wept in joy. And then I looked at the price.

Holy Bloody Hell!

Each of them weighed about eight pounds which is a little smaller than we usually get for our family.  But when I looked at the price tag, they cost in the neighborhood of 360 MOP which in American dollars is about $45.00.  After I pounded my heart back into starting, I did some figuring in my head. Now, we haven't bought a turkey in years.  Universal employees always got one as a thank you for their hard work.  But even at .49 a pound, which is a normal Walmart sale price, a ten pound turkey is less than 5 dollars, right?  So does having a turkey on Thanksgiving worth an extra 40 dollars?

I don't think so.  Tom Turkey is safe from us this year.  LOL

Then, I discovered fresh cranberries.  At least we'll have those.  But what about dessert?  If they have turkeys, might they have pumpkin pie mix?  Sadly, no, but since I make an awesome pumpkin pie, I wondered if I could substitute something else. 

Then, I was excited to see some fresh Chinese pumpkins in the produce section.  But they were long and skinny and very colorful, instead of the round orange pumpkins I was used to.  I was assured by the produce gal  they tasted almost like American pumpkins. (ummm...right)  It was the almost that made me hesitate, but then I thought, what the hell!  Why not give it a shot?

So, our menu will be as follows.

Mashed Thailand Potatoes
Stuffing (made from some British recipe)
Green Bean Cassarole (made from scratch since they don't have dried onions over here.  And the beans are a Chinese variety that are over 18 inches long)
Cranberry Sauce ( made from scratch...a first for me who usually just opens a can)
Chinese Pumpkin Pie (which should taste ALMOST like American...she promised)
Apple Tarts (in case the produce lady LIED about the pumpkins *snicker*)

It will be an interesting celebration and we are thinking afterwards, we might spend the weekend in Hong Kong to see what's over there.  But one way or another, I'll let you know how it went.  And since I'm thankful for my health, my work, all my great readers and my darling sweet baboo, it doesn't really matter where or how you spend the holiday.  Right?

But I'm going to miss watching my football game.  *sigh*

Anyway, how are you celebrating the holiday if you're an American?  And for everyone, American or not, what is it YOU'RE thankful for?  Let me know in the comments below!

I'll see you back here on Friday with my guest blogger, the awesome Mina Kelly.  And have a wonderful long holiday weekend! 

CJ England  

Follow Your Dreams

Monday, November 22, 2010

Adventures In Movie Seeing

Hey all,

Continuing on with our movie theme from last week, we went to see a movie last Saturday.  No, it wasn't Deathly Hallows.  *sigh*  It's not here in Macau yet.  It's in Hong Kong, and we might be taking a trip over THERE.  LOL

Anyway, we went and saw the movie, Unstoppable with Denzil Washington and the newcomer, Chris Pine (he played James T. Kirk in the new Star Trek).

It's the first time we've had a chance to go to the movies here in Macau.   We've been into the theatre to see what was playing, and the lobby is about the size of a postage stamp compared to what you have in the states.  LOL  Further inside, it sports several theatres.

Now, when we lived in Singapore, we went to the movies a lot.  And it was pretty cool.  There, you go online, buy your tickets and pick your seats.  Then get your tickets at the will call window when you get there.

But the picking your seats thing took a bit to get used to.  For those of you in the states, you know what I mean.  Standing in line...the free for all for the big movies.  (Seriously, how many of you are going to be hanging out at the theatre for hours, trying to get the BEST seat for Harry Potter?)  But over in Asia, and I'm told in a few other parts of the world, the seats are assigned, so you can get there at the very last minute.  No muss.  No fuss.

Now the downside is, if you pick a seat that SUCKS, you're stuck.  Unless the crowd is small and you sneak to another seat once you're in there.  But that always worries me over here.  I can just see the headlines...


Can you say, embarrassing? Geesh.  If I'm going to get deported, it better be for something more exciting than surreptitiously changing seats in a darkened theatre.

The other thing we had to get used to was the food offered in the theatre.  The drinks are pretty much the same as in the states, but the popcorn...something so basic and you'd think, easy...isn't.  I went up to get some at the first movie I went to in Singapore and this is the way the conversation went.

Me:  "One large popcorn please."
Girl: "Sweet or Salty?"
Me:  "Huh?"
Girl: (rolls eyes)  Sweet or Salty, Ma-dam?"  (They call most white non-young women that in Asia.  Took me aback the first time.  Looked around for Heidi Fleiss.  LOL)
Me: "I just want popcorn."
Girl:  (who's now giving me the "you are SUCH a stupid American" face)  No, Ma-dam.  The you want it sweet or with the salt?"
Me:  (getting a little irritated)  "I don't want anything sweet.  Just give me a large popcorn."
Girl:  *sighs*  "Yes, Ma-dam.  Sweet or salty?"

Luckily, Jonathon stepped in and explained what she was saying before I clocked her one.  Of course, then it made sense, but since we don't have the choice of caramel corn in the theatres back home, it never even dawned on me what little miss Singapore was going for.  It was just too different.

I mean, where else can you buy bon bons and dried dead fish on a stick to go with that sweet popcorn and drink?  Don't was almost as bad as the poor dead baby pigeons.  

And if you watch a 3-D movie, they stand at the door and you don't leave without giving them back their glasses.  No disposables here...everything is first rate and expensive.  LOL  Yet, they throw away wood like it grew on trees!  ( know what I mean)  Makes no sense, but there you go.

Anyway, it's just another way living over here is so different.  Even something as simple and enjoyable as seeing a movie can be a total adventure.

Adventures in Movie Seeing...  Sounds like an idea for a feature film to me!

Hugs and I'll see you on Wednesday when I'm back with a look at Thanksgiving in another country.

CJ England  

Follow Your Dreams

Friday, November 19, 2010

Romance During the Holidays

 Hey all,

This Friday's guest blogger has a short fun post about romance and holiday traditions.  MJ Fredrick is a fellow Samhain author who writes in many genres about some of my favorite topics.  Let's learn a little more about her, shall we?  This is a portion from her bio...

Most of MJ’s earliest memories involve books and writing. You can ask her father about the backseat full of Trixie Belden books on a road trip to California, some of them in tatters from use. Or you can ask her grandmother about the weekly trips to the dime store to buy Harlequin Romances (usually ones with horses on the covers). Or ask her uncle about reading her first effort when she was nine years old, a mixture of Grease and One on One.  In the years she¹s been writing, she¹s written everything from epic contemporary to short and sexy, even trying her hand at futuristic and paranormal.

MJ, a fourth grade teacher, has lived her whole life in San Antonio. She shares her computer (sometimes) with her patient husband of 21 years and her brilliant 16 year old son.

Now let's hear what MJ has to say about romance and the holidays.  Please help me in welcoming her to my blog.


This time of year, my grandmother used to splurge on holiday romance books, especially the anthologies the publishers put out. They made her happy. Something about reading someone else’s traditions and celebrations put her in a festive mood. 

I follow in her footsteps. The part I especially love is seeing what aspects of the holidays are important to the characters. It reveals so much about who that character is. I also love watching family interactions between the characters. My family all lives close, so we don’t really have the reunion aspect that some of the holiday romances do—the grown children coming home, sometimes bringing significant others. It’s fun to see how they fit in the family dynamic. Do the adult children act as adults once they return home? How do the significant others fit into the family?

I know there are other stories who play on these aspects of character development, but something about the coziness of the holidays—Thanksgiving or Christmas, the compressed timelines and the general festiveness of the books enhances them in the holiday stories.

Do you like reading holiday stories? What are your favorites?


A great trip down memory lane.  I used to collect all the holiday Harlequins I could so you all know I love the festivities!  And I've written a book targeting just about every holiday so far.  In fact I have a Christmas one coming out on December 3rd.  You can check that out on my WEBSITE.

But take the time now to check out all of MJ's great stories.  You can visit her WEBSITE.  Or check her out on her FACEBOOK page. And don't forget to pick up her latest release, Breaking Daylight, at Samhain Publishing.

Thanks for stopping by everyone and don't forget to leave the name of your favorite holiday stories in the comments below!  I'll be back on Monday with another great blog about some wierdness from my always overactive imagination!  Have a great weekend!

CJ England  

Follow Your Dreams

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

So Whatcha Think About This????

Hey all,

Talking about Harry Potter on Monday made me consider all the other movies and TV shows out there.  I mean, when you think about it, there really are so many wonderful and unique ideas that have been turned into entertainment for us all.
Let's consider.  In the last few years we've had such blockbusters such as Avatar, The Lord of the Ring Trilogy, Pirates of the Caribbean Movies, Spiderman, Xmen, The Twilight Saga, Shrek and many, many more.  Some of them taken from books, some amusement park rides (who'd a thunk?), and we even have comic books being made into movies.  It's clear to me, we will NEVER run out of ideas for new shows.

So why is it that Hollywood has to redo movies?  Especially the classics.  I mean, I watched both the original Psycho and the remake and please...the remake might have had it's good points, but how can you outdo that wonderful classic?  Why would you even try?  And what about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre where the remake was nothing but a gory mess.  It wasn't scary, it was just ridiculous.  Begs the old adage, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Now, don't get me wrong.  Some remakes are great!  One of my favorite movies of all time is the 1982 version of The Thing with Kurt Russell.  That movie still scares the bejeezes out of me almost twenty years later.  And for an ensemble cast, you can't beat the 2001 version of Ocean's 11.  The rat pack was reborn all over again in a brand new and most awesome way.

But those are few and far between, and I've never quite understood why, with all the fantabulous books and great new ideas there are out there, the PTBs feel the need to do a rewind.

Now, we're seeing it in TV shows.  And some are good...some not so good.  This year, one of my all time favorite TV shows did a do over.  Hawaii 5-0 has been updated, reworked and recast.  With Alex O'Loughlin as McGarrett, Scott Cann as Danno, Daniel Dae Kim as Chin Ho and Grace Park as Kono, they literally blew off the small screen during their premiere.  Now I was all prepared not to like it, but I have to tell you...I was bloody amazed.  

Even though I looked askance at Grace Park as Kono (I knew they needed a hot chick, but geesh...Kono?) I absolutely loved the new show.  The chemistry between all the characters was awesome and it was only the first show.  (over here in Macau it JUST started)  I can't wait to see the growth of the characters as it goes on.

But then today I saw an article on yahoo about how TNT is thinking about getting Dallas back on the small screen.  JR, Sue Ellen and Bobby would be around doing their thing, but it would focus on Bobby and Pam's son Christopher and John Ross, JR's son, and the younger crowd.

Seriously?  Didn't that show die a slow painful death after the infamous shower recovery scene?  I mean I watched it, but it lost me when they did something so stupid.  Are they really going to try and recapture the lightning that got washed down the shower drain?

Again, aren't there any new original ideas TNT can do to take it's place?  Please.  I'll even let you turn one of series into a TV show.  (I put that in just in case TNT is reading this.  My new friend Johnny Miles taught me that trick *grin*)

So what do you think?  Are remakes good, bad, or you don't give a darn?  Is there a movie or TV show you'd like to see remade?  Come to think of it, I'd love to see the classic Seven Brides for Seven Brothers redone.  But I want to pick all the actors.  I think if it's my dream, I should get to.  Right?  LOL

Anyway, let me know what you think in the comments below and then join me back here on Friday for another great Guest Blogger, MJ Fredrick, who'll talk a bit about her love of the holidays!

Hugs and I'll see you then,

CJ England  

Follow Your Dreams

Monday, November 15, 2010

Harry Potter Sweeps the World

Hey all,

I admit it.  I'm a geek.  A total Harry Potter fan girl.  I love the books and I really enjoyed the movies.  I think J.K. Rowling has built one of the best worlds since J.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth.  You can actually see the brick wall move in Diagon Alley and feel the Golden Snitch as it speeds by you.

Now I will say that out of all the books, I liked this last one, The Deathly Hallows, the least.  For me it was too murky and deep, I hated who they killed off in it (I won't say just in case there are any real HP virgins left out there) and I thought the conclusion was empty.  Almost like she was tired and just quit writing.  But the world she built, with all it's intrigue, magic and unique characters will always be one of my very favorites.

I personally believe that world building is one of the most important things you can do in a book.  The ones where the author didn't take the time to do so always feel flat to me.  Maybe that's why I write longer books.  I want to take the time to build that world.

In The Mylari Chronicles: Eyes of Fire, I discovered a whole faerie world beyond the myst.  And I've just scratched the surface with the book that's been released.  You haven't even met the Elven Flyers, Treasure Goblins or  Rock Wraiths yet.  (smile)

It was a joy to make up that world, one I can't wait to go back to.  And I wonder if J.K. feels the same way.  Does she wish she could go back to the wizarding world as well?

But maybe she doesn't have to.  Have you seen the news there are now Quidditch teams?  And even an Official Quidditch Cup Match?  How must J.K. feel when she sees her fantasy world cross into the real one?

Which is real and which is fantasy?

Maybe that is one of the signs of a really successful book.  When its fans take it to the next level and make it real.  For an author, that is a huge complement.  To know your work has made such an impact on people.

I often wonder which of my series might go to the next level.  Would it be Mylari with its elves, orcs and magic?  Or the Don't series with it's vampires, shapeshifters and demons?  Or The Peacekeeper series that has all of the above.  Could any of these books spawn an entire fanset that takes my dream worlds into this one?

What do you think?  Might any of my series be the next blockbuster movie?  And getting back to J.K., are you a HP fan too?  If so, are you wearing Gryffindor or Slytherin colors when you go see the new movie?  You better tell me in the comments below, or I might send Hagrid and his pet dragon after you!   LOL

Hugs and see you on Wednesday,

CJ England  

Follow Your Dreams

Friday, November 12, 2010

Arghhh, Me Mateys - Pirates Are Among Us

Hey all,

It's Friday and today's guest blogger has an important message for us all. It comes from an eXtasy books author, PJ Dean. A little more about her...
This author grew up in a household exclusively composed of adults, so she was a tad precocious.  Her neighborhood, South Philly, was, and always has been, a mix of different cultures. She grew up hearing many languages and witnessing the customs of the immigrants who had settled there. Her love of other places led to a semester in France and a B. A. in French Civilization, with a minor in Spanish. Her interest in history and her penchant for romance novels directed her to write her first historical romance, "FAITHFUL". PJ Dean, lives with her very demanding cat, Bart.


I want to make a short comment on a topic near and dear to me. Especially at this time of year.

Pirates are alive and well and living amongst us. No, not the one-legged ones with parrots on their shoulders sitting on Davey Jones locker. I'm talking about the "file sharing" ones who suck the life from a writer. How do I know this? 'Cuz not one, but two of my books are on file sharing websites. I guess I should be flattered that folks want to read my stuff. I want them to want to, but I would prefer that they buy a copy. Call me a money-grubbing capitalist but I'd like to make a living as a writer by selling my work, not giving it away illegally.

I just wanted to remind readers: please support the writers who desire to entertain you. We work very hard to create stories to carry you away to other worlds. Please buy our books, electronic or otherwise. When a writer discovers that their work has been or is being pirated, the process of getting it removed from such a website is excruciating. Annoying and time-consuming is the best way I can describe it. I could elaborate but yawning would ensue.

With the holiday season upon us, books are on people’s lists to give and to get. If offered a pirated site to get downloads, please decline using the site. Buy your books from legitimate bookstores. Enjoy the season, buy some books and bypass these file sharing sites.



Thanks, PJ.  This is a problem faced by every author on the planet.  I myself have lost thousands of dollars to pirates.  Honestly, I can't understand it.  It's stealing.  Flat out.  It's very different from a print book where there is only one copy.  With E-books you can make as many as you want and sell or give them away and the author gets nothing.  Trust me, most of us aren't making enough money to absorb the losses.  I know of many who've had to go back to work because the pirates stole too much from them to keep on writing full time.

It is a horrible problem and one, like PJ said, where every reader CAN make a difference.  Share the news.  Please don't steal from authors, artists or musicians.  If you want to read a story, buy the book.  That's the bottom line.

Want to know more about PJ and her work?  Check her out at the following places and read up on her latest story, “The Felig Chronicles” out at eXtasy books.

I'll see you next Monday as I share my thoughts about life in general.  And don't forget to check out my FREE READ.  Chantal and Mace have made contact.  Let's see what happens now!

CJ England  

Follow Your Dreams

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A GREAT Mini Vacation

Hey all,

My sweet baboo had an unexpected four days off this last week.  It came at a good time since he was fighting a nasty head cold.  But better yet because we haven't had a block of time off since we moved over here.

It was an excellent four days.  The first two we just lazed around the apartment, letting him rest and get back in health.  We'd planned to go to Hong Kong on Monday/Tuesday, but decided against it at the last minute, just because we didn't want him getting too tired and relapsing.  So instead, we did some errands we've been putting off.

One of the things we haven't really done was furnish our new apartment.  We came over with just a few suitcases each and NO big things, so we pretty much started from scratch.  When we got out apartment, we bought some starter stuff and the necessities, but not a lot else.  Once Jonathon had made the final decision to stay with this company it was time to go do some SHOPPING!!!!

Woo Hoo!!!

Now, I'm not a major shopper.  I do what I need to do when I need to do it, but my darling hubby doesn't have to worry about taking my credit cards away.  LOL  I just don't care that much about stuff.  As long as LUCAS (my computer) works okay, and I have internet to do research, I'm a happy camper.

But it's a blast to know you have a few extra bucks and you CAN go out and get some cool stuff.  And so we did.  We actually didn't get all of what we set out to get.  (when do you ever?)  But we had fun trying.

Over here, the floors are all made of marble-like tile--no rugs--so it's bloody cold!  And as the temp drops, it's even painful to walk on it.  So a rug was first on the list.  One for the living room and in the bedroom.  We knew what we wanted, went right to where we saw it, but once we got there, they were renovating.  The rug had been moved to another store and YOU try and get directions from someone who can't speak English and can't even read a map if it's written in that language.  *sigh* 

We're going to try again tomorrow when Jonathon gets off work.

But we found some bedding we needed to keep us warm, bought wood for a project he's going to build (an entertainment center) and some really cool lamps we weren't even searching for.  And a few other things that were on the list.  Then we did something we'd really been looking forward to.  (no...not that!  *rolls eyes*)  We went to a food festival.

Now, just so you understand.  One of our favorite things to do on the planet is to go to the Food and Wine Festival at Disney's Epcot.  We've gone every year we've lived in Florida.  It's wonderful.  A perfect time to taste test a bunch of food, wine and beer and not pay out the ying yang for it.  We save all year just for this special time.  Our daughter, Jessaca, always goes with us, and it's become a family sort of tradition.

But this year, we couldn't go because we were over here and she was there.  She went with her boyfriend and had a good time, but it just wasn't the same.  So when we heard about the festival here, we were really jazzed.  It might not be the same experience, but it would be close.

So we headed to the Macau 10th Annual Food Festival.  We didn't expect much, after all some of the other festivals we've been to weren't that big a deal.  A few booths, some music...some kids dancing.  Yippee.

But we were WRONG!  This one was humongous!  Bloody huge.  It had a gazillion food booths, a big stage that had entertainment going all night long, games, and even a few handcrafts.  We were amazed.  And like Disney it was very inexpensive.  But, UNLIKE Disney, rather than getting a few bites for your buck, you got a full meal.  That's good for your pocketbook, bad for your stomach when you want to try a bunch of things. 

We spent a few hours there, enjoying the music, the food and the atmosphere, then headed home.  Full, fat and exhausted.  And spent the next day recovering.  LOL

But we also started in on decorating and making our sterile apartment a home.  I'd have done it already, but the walls are all cement over here and it takes strength and a really strong drill to even put a bloody screw in them.  So we worked together.  I'd tell him where...he'd do the work.

Seemed fair to me.  *snerk*

Anyway, it just goes to show me that even an unexpected vacation, one that you just spend at home can be awesome.  We didn't go sightsee, nor did we travel anywhere.  But we were together, we enjoyed ourselves and when he went back to work this morning, he was healthy and rested.  And that was gold to me. 

And isn't that what a vacation is supposed to do?????

Anyway, you all have a great hump day.  I'll be back on Friday with an awesome blog from my guest, PJ Dean.  I think you'll all enjoy what this author has to share with us.

And don't forget to check out my FREE READ.  Mace and Chantal are learning not everything is as it seems.  Especially when you find that special someone!

Plus, if you haven't already, go check out my Nov/Dec Contest on my WEBSITE.  There is a great prize available and you might even learn something, too!  LOL

Oh, and I almost forgot...  I blogged today over at the Loose Id author blog.  I wrote a little about when a story goes all sexy on you.  LOL  Check it out and see what you think.  And leave me a comment so I know you were there!!! 

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

CJ England  

Follow Your Dreams

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Totally Cool Way To Waste Time

Hey all,

I thought I'd have some fun today.  I'm usually so busy I can't do things like this, but the other day, someone sent me a video that I just loved.  In fact, I enjoyed it so much I sent it to all my friends.  As I sat and watched it, I realized how much fun the internet could really be.

Now, don't get me wrong, I know people spend HOURS on the internet doing nothing, but for me, it's always been more of a research tool.  Something for my books, blogs or if I need to find out something for my personal life, like a recipe or travel plan.

But to just sit and surf?  It's not my thing.  The closest I get to that is going through the LOL sites or getting distracted by something when I'm doing some research.  And I enjoy it.  But honestly, I'm too busy writing to do it every day.

So when I got this video I decided to take a few moments and do something I hadn't done in months and months.

I went surfing!

And today, as a bit of a change of pace, I thought I'd share the fun things I found with all of you.  Ready?

Here is the video that was sent that started it all...

I loved the way these big cats played and the look on their faces as they nibbled on the pumpkin.  It looked so much like when my cat gets all goofy with catnip I laughed like a loon.

And this video I found as I was doing research.  It's a little naughty, but I love it.

Talk about some quick thinking!!!

And this video has been around awhile, but is still as relevant today as it was when it first came out.

And you know...everything they said is dead on. I think that's what I like so much.

And finally, this is my all time favorite video of all time. My son showed me this a few years ago and I still giggle when I see it.

Fu*king Kangaroos! LOLOLOLOL I just love that video.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this little trip into the fun side of the internet. And now it's your turn. Let us know what videos you think are the best on the net in the comments below.

I look forward to seeing what you have for me!

Hugs to all!!!

Follow Your Dreams

Friday, November 5, 2010

I’m Sorry, You Write What?!

Hey all,

It's Friday and I have a very interesting blogger for you all today.  He's a little bit different than my usual guests and I like that.  I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I invited him over, but like a lot of surprises, this one is one I'm happy to enjoy. 
Fellow Loose-Id author, Johnny Miles has led a most unusual life and has come late into the world of romance, but I can say from what I've seen, his experiences have only enriched his writing.  It says this about him on his website...

Johnny Miles first burst onto the world of gay erotica in 1985, when he published his first short story for self-abusers. Since then, his work has been in Blueboy, Numbers, Stars, Honcho, First Hand, Skin, Male Insider and, more recently, Handjobs magazines.

After several decades of experimenting with different careers – graphic designer, massage therapist, phone sex operator and human dildo – he spurt back into the world of erotica in 2008.

Sounds interesting, right?  So let's see what this unique writer has to tell us.  Please join me in welcoming, Johnny Miles to my blog


   At 48, I find myself in the unique position I once did when I was fresh out of high school and stepping out into the real world of obnoxious adults. Imagine me in a group of people, some of them looking down their noses at a not-so-fresh-faced Latino kid from the ‘hood wanting to mingle with others outside his realm.
   “So, what do you do?”
   And I think, hmmmm. Should I try for their sympathy and tell them I used to do customer service? Shall I impress them with my limited technical savvy in the graphic arts field? Or should I stun them and tell them I’m in the adult entertainment industry? It’s not like I haven’t done any of those things. I have. In fact, to some degree, I still do. Well, all except for the customer service bit.
   So I decide to go with the truth and, in a somewhat meek voice, I say, “Ahem. Well, I’m a writer.”
   “Really? What kind of stuff do you write?” Curiosity in their voice.
   I cough, mumble, clear my throat again. “Roh- roh, romance.”
   “Oh.” Not impressed.
   “Gay romance.” A bit more surely.
   “I see.” Quite clearly and most definitely not impressed, bordering on who cares. Then I finally find my voice.
   “I write erotic gay romance novels for women.”
   By this point I smile to myself because the pretentious bastards have usually stopped, peaked an eyebrow and said, “I’m sorry, you write what?!”
   “Ha! Got your hoity-toity ass now, don’t I?” I think to myself and grin but so wish I had the balls to actually say it.
   Of course, I don’t tell everyone what I do, and what I say really depends on who’s asking. Not to mention the circumstances. Still, I never thought I would ever hear myself utter those words. It’s not like I aspired to be a romance writer, specifically. In fact, when I was younger, I loathed romance novels. Except for that one time when I picked up a Rosemary Rogers novel in junior high school.
   So how exactly did a boy like me, from the ghetto, wind up writing romance? Looking back it seems like everything kinda led up to this point. While other kids were out on the streets, doing God only knew what, I spent time at the library. I borrowed the maximum number of books allowed and returned them religiously, on time, with barely a crinkle in the pages.
   You see, books were sacred to me. And to my mom. It was she, more than anyone, who taught me to love books. She encouraged me to read the written word often and she rarely ever censored what I read. Which is why I didn’t understand her fuming when I laid out a copy of one of my stepfather’s Playboys alongside my kid-friendly version of Funk and Wagnall's.
   Little did she know I actually was interested in the article, despite the fact that I didn’t know the meaning of a multiple orgasm. Organism was in my kid’s dictionary but not orgasm. Go figure.
   Several years later my cousin and I made it a point to seek out the one book my uncle swore we should never read: The Exorcist. We went looking for the curse words but when we were caught my cousin left me holding the…uh, book.
   Later in life, I discovered porn. And the rest, as they say, was history. Aside from getting hooked on gay porn I became a writer for several gay magazines. Yes. I wrote smut. Now we just call it erotica and most people don’t argue the point.
   Mind you, like thousands – if not millions – of others that came before me, I have always wanted to write. I’ve always enjoyed putting words together. And I’ve always watched people and made up elaborate lives for them, complete with problems, sorrows, joys and triumphs.
   Fast forward to January of 2009 when, on a cruise, I met Treva Harte through Bobby Michaels. Here’s where the memory gets fuzzy. I don’t remember what I was drinking but I do remember someone saying something along the lines of, “Gee, too bad you don’t write romance. You could submit it to Loose Id.”

   Maybe it was the booze talking. Maybe it was the way I heard it. Or maybe it was the way I needed to hear it. Whatever the reason, I took it upon myself to write my very first gay erotic romance. As a challenge. After all, how difficult could it be I asked myself. You think up some characters, think of a premise, add some conflict, throw in some hot kinky sex and stir. Voila!
   Boy, was I ever wrong. In fact, not only was I wrong, I was very, very, very wrong. Once again, the little cockiness that still remains from my teenage years turned around and bit me in the ass.
   Even now, with one book published, another one on the way and a third that has sent me surfing the rim of what I call “the butthole of depression” I’m still not sure I know what I’m doing. It’s not easy writing gay erotic romance for women! There are many do’s and don’ts from the editor, along with the unmentionables – men don’t sweat, they glisten; women don’t like hairy men, have you ever rubbed yourself against stubble? – and then there’s the very idea of romance.
   What exactly is romance? How much is too much? Do I throw some reality in there? What sort of reality is acceptable and just how much of it can I interject? Reality, like romance, are both in the eye of the reader ,so it’s hard to tell what will work and what won’t. I still consider the story between Rose Tyler and The Doctor, from the BBC television series “Doctor Who”, to be one of the greatest modern love stories ever told. But others don’t see the romance in that.
   I must admit that the last two years have been an interesting experience. No, I’m still not raking in the bucks or living off any royalties. Hell, my last royalty check wouldn’t even buy two combo meals at McDonald’s. But it wasn’t about the money for me; not at first, though I wished and prayed with all my heart!
   I wanted to challenge myself to do more than just erotica; which I’ve done. Now, it’s about the discipline of writing – which is still very difficult – regardless of what it is. Because, you see, writing is writing, no matter what genre. And I’ve discovered that I like writing. I enjoy putting words together and making stuff up.
   And for once in my life, it’s not called lying. For once I can justify sitting back quietly in a coffee shop, sipping my latte and just watching.
   Maybe after the third or fourth story is under my belt (please God!), after I find my “romance voice” and once I’ve delved deeper into the psyche of made-up characters, the money can come rolling in.
   I don’t know what my future as a romance writer will bring. Like many, I’ll probably want to take a stab at a different genre. I’d even love to try a screen adaptation of something I’ve had published (that least bit was in case Hollywood was listening). All I know is that, for now, I’m having fun writing and learning as I go. I’m enjoying meeting new people in the industry and have really grown to appreciate the enormous sense of satisfaction when I finally type “The End”.
   I can finally say, “I did it. I’m a published author! So you can just take your hoity-toity attitude against romance writing and stuff it!”
   Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll sit down and write the great American romance novel! I can almost hear someone out there saying, 
   “I’m sorry, you wrote what?”


Wasn't that great!  I grinned all the way through, and just to add my two cents worth, I LOVED the storyline between Rose and The Doctor.  I wept like a baby when they went their separate ways.  Now THAT was romance!!!!

Anyway, if you'd like to learn more about Johnny and his M/M stories, check out his WEBSITE or become a follower of his BLOG.  And be sure to pick up his book at Loose Id.  Casa Rodrigo is his latest work and you can read all about it HERE.

I'll be back on Monday with another blog about something or another.  Who knows what will tickle my fancy between now and then.

And don't forget my FREE READ going on over at my FREE READ BLOG.  It's an exotic doozy!!!!

Hugs to all!!!

CJ England  

Follow Your Dreams