Friday, March 18, 2011

Why I Am A Team Werewolf

Hey all,

Sorry I haven't been around too much. My internet is down--I'm assuming due to the problems going on over here. I had someone else put this up for me so forgive me if it isn't as CJ like as usual.  Not sure when things will be back to normal, hopefully soon.

Today's guest blogger is Eva Gordon, another fellow Truly Madly Deeply Romance Author.  Here's a little bit more about her.

She has a BS in Zoology and graduate studies in Biology and has taught high school Biology, Environmental Science and Anatomy/Physiology. Her background in science and passion for wildlife biology adds credibility to her writings.  She also moonlights as a faculty member of the Grey School of Wizardry, an online school for kids and adults interested in magic and lore.  A member of Romance Writers of America, she has also taught workshops on wolf lore and falconry for writer groups.  She has volunteered at a wolf sanctuary and is involved in other aspects of wildlife education. 
She is a world traveler and loves visiting the places where her novels take place. She lives in Northern California with her husband and family. 

Sounds great, right?  So lets see what Eva has for us today!  Welcome, Wolf Maiden!  :-)


My blog is about why I am team werewolf when I chose to create my paranormal romance lycan series, The Wolf Maiden Chronicles. My passion for wildlife, especially wolf biology (my degrees are in Zoology and Biology) and my love of mythology was like the mixing of chocolate and peanut butter to create the Reeses Peanut Cup. I had to combine my two great loves. The call of the wild meets romance. Why the wolf? That was easy. The wolf is one of my totem guides and in fact has been the totem guide for numerous cultures. Nothing sends a chill down your spine more than hearing a wolf’s howl in the night. 

While at a wolf sanctuary, I spent the night in a trailer on the grounds and was privileged to hear night after night of thirty wolves in their nightly serenade. No sound is more awesome. Wolves have traits we admire. They are powerful predators, with complex social behavior, and what appeals to most romantic readers, wolves are monogamous. In reality wolves have a low hunting success rate and the average wolf is the size of a German Shepherd so I made my lycan wolves huge, the size of bears with cool tribal tattoos. The Beast of Gevaudan legend of 1764 of Southern France spoke of such a large wolf creature/werewolf said to be the size of a bull. I knew then that my lycan had to be larger than the average wolf.

I studied myths about wolves from around the globe. In Native American culture the wolf is an important archetype. They had great respect for the wolf and often offered prayers before a hunt to the wolf spirit. Wolf spirit was also powerful medicine for shamans who traveled to the world of the dead. In Europe just as in the New World, myths and stories about wolves are universal. Early Europeans Respected the Wolf as Protector and Teacher. From the Steppes of Asia Minor to the British Isles the Wolf was mighty totemic protector. Hecate, an Ancient Greek deity was worshipped as a goddess with three wolf heads. Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus who were fed by the she-wolf, Alcala/Lupa.

In Ireland, King Cormac was nursed by a she-wolf. Myths about heroes being suckled or raised by wolves are ubiquitous and would take too much space for this blog. In the Viking world to be a member of the Wolf Clan, Ulfhednar was the greatest honor. Viking warriors believed that if they died a heroic death they would be turned into magnificent wolves. Vikings also believed wolves chasing and devouring the sun and moon caused eclipses. Two wolves accompanied Odin, ruler of the Norse Gods. He created the wolves Freki (Hungry One) and Geri (Greedy One) as loyal companions. 

Many of these wolfish tales were actually werewolf stories. As Europe went from hunter/gather to a agricultural land grabbing cultures the wolf was no longer seen as friend but rather foe. Tales of ravenous wolves haunted the land. From Lycaon being turned into a werewolf by Zeus to Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf became the new evildoer. Werewolves roamed looking for human prey. There are numerous accounts of werewolves devouring people. And so many ways to become a werewolf, from wearing a wolf pelt, from a curse, drinking from a specific water hole or the classic bitten by a wolf and influenced by the full moon. I then I began to see history through the eyes of a werewolf. What if werewolves were real? Mine would be genetic and super powerful. If they were, they would need to keep themselves secret. Thus my creation of my werewolf universe, in The Wolf Maiden Chronicles.


As Eva says, wolves are powerfully romantic characters.  Lucas, my hot hunky werewolf in The Peacekeeper series is one of my favorites.  He's strong, totally alpha, but sensitive, moody and with a temper that would scare the most frightening demon.  I love using wolves in my books and while a wolf isn't my personal totem--mine is a hawk--I am drawn to them because of their beauty, mystery and serenity.  Eva's books are well written and have that touch of realism from her studies that shows she knows what she's about.

And you have to admit she looks great in a Red Riding Hood outfit!  The pic at the beginning of the blog is of Eva and her handsome--if you like them hairy--husband. LOL   Let her know what you think in the comments below.

For more about Eva, check out her blog where on each full moon she interviews a famous werewolf and like creature or person. This month she plans to interview Little Red Riding Hood and she welcome comments about the new movie, Red Riding Hood. Go take a peek at her trailer on Explore her other books on

Become a fan on Face Book

Hopefully, I'll be back on Monday with more fun chats.  It depends on if they get the internet dealt with and I can find somewhere to hole up and get all my work done.  But if you don't see me, don't worry.  I haven't been taken by wolves *vbg*.  At least, not yet, damn the luck!  LOL

Hugs to all,

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Other Perfect First Line

Hey all,

Last Wednesday, I talked about my contest and the Perfect First Line for a book.  But as I was writing it out for posting I realized there is another first that is just as important in any romance.

The first time you actually speak to a potential lover.

Now we've all heard those ridiculous types of first pick up lines.  There are lists of them online and of course, who hasn't seen the TV shows where some guy tries to pick a girl up in a bar and comes out with a beaut like...

"What's your sign?"

Wow!  Boring much? 

But I've got to admit, some lines can be intriguing, even if they are a little silly or even overused.  And though I rarely used first lines with my characters as a hook (they usually meet in some other dramatic way), I have a few times, so I've done my research.

Here are a few of my favorites.

1.  Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again? 
2.  When I'm older, I'll look back at all of my crowning memories, and think of the day my children were born, the day I got married, and the day that I met you. 
3.  If I could rearrange the alphabet, I'd put U and I together. 
4.  Do you have a Bandaid? Cos I just scraped my knee falling for you.
5.  Do you have a map? Cos Honey, I just keep gettin lost in your eyes. 
6.  It's not my fault I fell in love. You are the one that tripped me. 
7.  Wow!  If you were a laser, you'd be set on "stunning". 
8.  Your legs must be tired because you've been running through my dreams all night.
9.  If beauty were time, you'd be eternity.
10. Is there a rainbow today? I just found the treasure I've been searching for! 

And these...guaranteed to send the person screaming from the room.

1.  If you were a booger I'd pick you first.
2.  My love for you is like diarrhea, I just can't hold it in.
3.  Excuse me, but does this smell like chloroform to you?
4.  I'll give you a nickel if you tickle my pickle.
5.  Do you live on a chicken farm? [No] You sure know how to raise cocks.
6. Wow! Are those real?   
7.  You are so beautiful that I want to be reincarnated as your child so that I can breastfeed by you until I'm 20. 
8.  Gee, that's a nice set of legs, what time do they open? 
9.  If I flip a coin, what are my chances of getting head?
10. I wanna floss with your pubic hair.  

Can we say ick!  Seriously, do any of these work?  Or are the recipients so shocked or laughing so hard, the person giving the line thinks they've actually done what they've set out to do?

Some of the ones in the first category I might laugh at and depending on how I read the guy offering them, I might allow a conversation, but I'd know it was a line.  Whether he wants to me to tickle his pickle or he's scraping his knee falling for me, I sure as hell would know it wasn't anything serious.  First lines in a relationship are just like what they are in a book.

A way to hook you and get you to take a second look.

So how about you all?  Do you have a favorite pick up line?  One that made your ick factor hit mach 10?  Or did your significant other use a line that had you turning into mush?  Did you use one on them?  Let me know in the comments below.  I'd love to add your funny or sweet perfect first line to my list!

See you on Friday with another guest blog from the amazing Eva Gordon!!!

Hugs to all,

 CJ England

Follow Your Dreams


Monday, March 14, 2011

A Very Different Sexy Shapeshifter

Hey all,

Today, one of my favorite all time stories was published.  And I'm so excited to have it back on the "shelves" so to speak.  Here Comes Peter is filled with humor, romance, holiday spirit and of course all the hot steamy loving I'm known for.  So take a peek and if you've never read this awesome Spring story, pick it up and you'll see why reviewers say the following... 

Hot, hot, hot love scenes will scorch your fur, and the strong feelings and delicious dilemmas they encounter will leave you wanting more.  A Recommended Read.~~~Joyfully Reviewed

I applaud CJ England for creating such a warm and funny tale of two people in love while bringing out the true meaning of Easter: forgiveness and love.  A Recommended Read. ~~~Fallen Angels Reviews

A mesmerizing romance, which is often poignant yet sometimes humorous and always entertaining. Every word of this imaginative love story will delight any time of the year.~~~Ecataromance Sensual

Readers will be amused by the clever ways CJ England uses the bunny theme.  A refreshingly humorous and erotic tale that is sure to keep readers charmed!~~~CK2S Kwips and Kritiques 
Ms. England has definitely hit the mark with Here Comes Peter! The characters are truly unique and refreshingly likable.  ORGASMIC.~~~Just Erotic Romance Reviews

Here is a little bit about his great book...

 Meet Peter Cottontail… the randiest rabbit in Easter Village. When he’s challenged by the Easter Bunny to show his Easter spirit by teaching a human woman the true meaning of the holiday, Peter thinks he’s got it made. Half-human himself, and able to shapeshift at will, he hasn’t met a doe… or woman yet who can resist him. This assignment will be a cinch.
   Enter Bunny O’Hara. With a name like hers, and a dark secret that haunts her, Bunny hates everything to do with Easter. Peter won’t have it as easy as he thinks!
   One look at Bunny has Peter forgetting all about the challenge, and in Peter, 

Bunny sees a chance for the happiness that has eluded her. But secrets and lies have a way of coming out, and Bunny and Peter find themselves having to decide if what they’ve found together is worth fighting for.

 Enjoy this quick taste of an excerpt... 

It was a while later before Bunny noticed Peter needed another beer.  As Chris pulled one, she drew little hearts on her tray.  “I think he likes me.  Not like those other guys.”
“See, sweetie.” Chris nodded his head.  “Not everyone cares about your past.”
Bunny’s head jerked up.  “He knows?”
Shit.”  The blond rubbed his chin.  “He asked about you last night, and before I knew it I told him everything.  I’m sorry.”
Her heart felt like it was bleeding.  Peter was like all the rest. After just one thing.  And if he could get laid doing it, well that was just an added bonus.  Anger swept through her, driving out any lingering passion.  “Give me his beer.”
Taking a deep breath, she strolled back to Peter’s table. 
He met her eyes and smiled.  “I wondered when you’d be back.”
“Do you still want to go home with me?”  Bunny leaned over, noting how his gaze went straight to her cleavage.
Peter suddenly had trouble with his breathing.  Her breasts were so soft and silky looking.  “Uhhh, yeah.”
“And I suppose you want to get to know me a little better,” she murmured, running a finger over his bottom lip. 
“Yeah, baby.”  He clenched his fists to keep from touching her.  He wasn’t sure why she’d changed her tune so fast, but he was more than willing to play the song.
“And afterwards we can talk.  Really go…deep…into what each other is about?”  She slid her bottom onto the table so her thigh was pressed up against his arm.
“Deep…real deep,” he managed.
Nodding her head, she ran her free hand through his short black hair, mussing it even more than it was.  “You’ll probably want to know all about me.  All the intimate details of my past.  The robbery, my arrest?”
Peter blinked, wondering where she was going with this.  But her hands felt so damn good.  “Anything you want, honey.
“So, you’ll take anything I have to give you?” 
She smiled down at him in a way that made him suddenly want to bolt for cover.  “Yeah,” he said cautiously.
“Good.”  Bunny stood abruptly.  “Then let me start with this.” 


Want to know what she gave him?  Read more on my Website...

And don't forget to check out my latest Contest.  Give me your perfect first line and win a free custom story of your very own.   

See you on Wednesday with a fun blog about another kind of PERFECT FIRST LINE.


CJ England

Friday, March 11, 2011

Memory...the diary we all carry with us. ~Oscar Wilde

Hey all,

Another guest blogger is here today.  Fellow Loose Id author and also a member of Truly Madly Deeply Romance Authors, Elizabeth Silver writes some awesome stories.  Let's find out something about her, shall we?

International woman of mystery and wearer of many hats, Elizabeth Silver is a writer, a worker, a nerd, and a self-proclaimed internet junkie. An avid reader all of her life, Elizabeth also began writing at an early age, and fell in instant, undeniable love. It's been a long and wicked affair, but literature is damn good in bed with a cup of cocoa.

With her feet planted about halfway between New York and Philadelphia, Elizabeth has often been accused of having her head in the clouds, although what she's really doing is just thinking really hard. Elizabeth can frequently be found at the local diners or coffee shops with internet access and bottomless refills, working on new story ideas on her own or with her close friend and co-author, Jenny Urban.

Got you curious?  Me too!  So let's take this time to welcome her to the blog and see what she has to say.  Welcome, Elizabeth!!!


Thank you, CJ, for this wonderful opportunity to visit your blog. I have to admit, I went through a lot of ideas, trying to come up with the perfect blog post to share with you. I only hope this one does the job. ☺

What I want to talk about is the funny miracle of human memory. Stop and think, if you will, about how our lives are just collections of little snippets of time, mental photographs and over-exposed video from our childhood reinforced by the stories our family tells about us when we get together for birthdays and holidays. My eldest sister-in-law loves to tell tales about how cute and demanding my husband was when he was little, the late in life baby for his parents, and sometimes I swear that I can see him like the little toddler she remembers, up at sunrise and ready for a whole day of playing.

Memory can play tricks on you, too. When I was eighteen, the Boyfriend (now Spouse) and I went to Scotland with a bunch of silly Americans for the first proper Scottish Highlander: the Series convention. It was matched up along with a regular science fiction con, much to the Boyfriend’s delight, but all I cared about were my Immortals and Watchers. There was the regular convention, and a long, gorgeous tour of the Highlands afterward for us Americans that I’ve got an entire photo album full of. But if you ask me or anyone close to me about that trip, none of that will be what comes to mind first.

Instead, I’ll tell you that drug- and bomb-sniffing border dogs like chocolate just as much as normal pups.

We’d flown all night, from New York to Glasgow; coach seats, Northern Lights out the window, a screaming baby in the back of the compartment, white-knuckled at the thought of flying over a flipping ocean. When at last we landed and shuffled into the queue to get into the airport proper, none of us really cared much about the security dogs. The worst I had was a couple packs of cigarettes and a few chocolate assortments from the factory I worked in – gifts for specific people. Nothing I couldn’t live without, and nothing I wasn’t half sure customs wouldn’t give a fart over, anyhow.

So the German Shepard and his handler came down the line – I’m looking for drugs, looking for bombs – the dog’s head damn near swiveling off his body when he passed me. On the second pass, of course, Fido ignored the yummy smells coming from my bag and walked on by, but I was marked.

“You.” A customs officer pointed to me as I bee-bopped past him, dressed in pastels, my long hair in a sloppy tail and the Boyfriend trailing about ten feet behind me, looking like the Spectre of Death, pale and all in black. “Come here.”

So we went over, and listened to the officer as he listed the various things one was forbidden from bringing into Scotland. Guns, knives, drugs, explosives… “So,” he asked, “do ye have any records?”

I blinked sleepily at the Boyfriend, who had managed a couple of hours of sleep. Clearly that made him custodian of the communal brain. “Records?” I asked him in a hushed whisper. “Did you…?”

He shook his head. “No. You?” It was beyond us why anyone would bring records on an airplane. Hell, I hadn’t even been able to find a needle for my mom’s turntable in over two years.

As we continued to whisper back and forth, worried that we’d somehow missed something, other customs agents began to close in on our little group. And then, suddenly, I understood. We were, after all, two nations separated by a common language.

“Oh!” I said, reaching into my purse. “I have this CD! He’s at the convention we’re going to!”

I brandished my Jim Byrnes CD at the officer, who did a slow fade, closed his eyes, and just waved us on, subtly signaling the other agents to fall back.

It bothers me, a bit, that I can’t remember the names of most of the people I spent the following two weeks with. We did all the usual convention things for that first weekend, and then went all over the Highlands, having what I’m sure was a grand adventure, if the pictures are anything to go by.

There are other stories from that trip, of course. There’s the story of the Menacing Spider that Would Not Die. The tale of how Liz learned that you never, ever water down good scotch with ice. And of course there’s the Glasgow karaoke bar full of kilted guys singing “It’s Raining Men.” But the story of how I almost got arrested by the Scottish border officials over a box of chocolate and a blues CD is the one that, naturally, stands out the most.

But the point is that at least I have learned my lesson about the fragility of memory. That one moment, early on in my trip of my young lifetime left its mark all over my mind and recollections, so that even to this day, more than a dozen years later, when I mention that I’ve been to Scotland, and someone inevitably asks how it was, that is the first thing that comes to mind.

I learned, in a roundabout fashion, that it’s all in the pacing. You don’t want to have the best bits in the very beginning, because the rest will be forgotten far too easily. It’s helped me in my writing, in my story telling, and taught me the true value of a really good punch line.

Because, you see, it wasn’t until a year, and at least half a dozen retellings of The Story later, when I got to the “records” part of the story with a coworker, that it suddenly clicked. I ran off, and called the Boyfriend.

“Records, baby,” I said. “As in criminal records.”

There was a long pause. And then, “OHHHHHHH.”


That was great!  LOLOL  I didn't get the records part either.  I was scratching my head wondering why they'd worry about any type of music.  When we went to Scotland, no one cared what music we were listening to!   LOL

Anyway, let Elizabeth know in the comments below what you thought.  Did you figure it out?  Or like me, did you get to wait for the punch line?  

Like what you read?  To learn more about Elizabeth and what she’s up to check out her online hangouts.

Website and Blog:
Truly Madly Deeply Romance Authors:

I'll be back on Monday with a fun blog about another type of PERFECT FIRST LINE.  Don't forget to check it out!!!!

Hugs to all,
CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Perfect First Line

Hey all,

I've got a fun new contest going on this month that I wanted to share with you all.  I realized I'd been remiss in letting my blog readers know about my contests, so from now on I'll do a post towards the first part of the month letting you all know what's going on.

So, here we go!

Spring Fling Romance Contest

Both Spring and Romance is in the air and CJ has a fun new contest for everyone.

Do you like reading? Ever tried your hand at writing? Well, with this spring contest you can do a little of both.

For this contest you get to put your imagination to use. A little creative writing...a little bit of drama.

What CJ is looking for is the perfect first line.

That's right. The perfect hook to make a reader want to devour the story from cover to The End.

Oooh...this sounds like fun. How do I enter?

1. It's easy... Just come up with a first line for one of CJ's future FREE READ romance stories. The name?

Soulmates Incorporated

And just what is that story about? Think Fantasy Island meets the Dating Game. A mysterious island where an even more mysterious someone brings deserving men and women to find their soulmates. Happily Ever After Guaranteed!

2. While it doesn't have to be specifically a romantic line, it should catch the reader's attention and make them want to read more. But one line ONLY, please.

3. Once you've polished it to complete and utter perfection, send your FIRST LINE in the body of an email to Put the words The Perfect First Line in the subject line.

4. Please format the entry as follows. For example:

Being dead sucked. ~ CJ England ~

Your entry will be posted on CJ's website and linked to the contest page for all to see and admire. It will be put up just as you have it in your email, so make sure it's clean and free of typos. Use quotes only where necessary and please, NO CAPS. We don't want to shout at the readers. Once it's posted it will NOT be changed. Make sure your full name and email address is in the email or your entry will not be posted. Initials only will be used on the website. (to keep voting fair and above board)

5. You can enter up to three times as long as the lines are substantially different.

6. No ick factors, (as laid out in most publisher's submission guidelines) Any entries that come in with a first line deemed inappropriate, will not be posted.

6. Any line submitted must be your own creation, and cannot be from any published work. Entries may or may not be used in the future CJ England story.

7. Only those 18 or older may submit a Perfect First Line and by entering, you are agreeing to all rules and policies herein.

Okay? I've sent in my entry. So what happens then???

8. This contest will run from March 1st through April 30th. At the end of the contest, an impartial panel of judges will choose the Perfect First Line they believe best grabs their attention and also reflects the flavor of what the story is about.

9. The winner will be announced here on the contest page as well as on my Chat Blog and will be sent an email announcement. The winner will have one week to respond or the second place winner will receive the prize. 

Cool! What will I win?

10. Since it's all about creative writing, the winner of this contest will receive one of CJ England's custom written stories valued at $75.00. You pick the hero, the heroine and the details and CJ will make your dream come alive. Check HERE for testimonials from satisfied clients.

Any questions? Please contact CJ at the email address above. Good luck and happy writing!!!

I hope to get an entry from each and every one of you!  So what are you waiting for?  Hit me with your best line!!!!

Hugs to all and I'll see you on Friday with another great guest blogger, Elizabeth Silver.

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Monday, March 7, 2011

How will you live...and love?

 Hey all,

Today's blog discusses a tricky subject.  One that most people would prefer to ignore until it happens to them or someone they know.


As some of you may know, my FIL died this last week and we've been dealing with what happens when someone close to you passes.  I won't go into that here--it's too personal and private to blog about my husband's grief.  Instead I thought I'd share how it's affected it made me re-look at my life and how I handle things.

“The question is not whether we will die, but how we will live.” ~~~   Joan Borysenko

This is what I've spent the last few days thinking about.  If you've read my blog, my books or visited my website, it should be pretty clear that I believe 100% in living life to the fullest.  Follow Your Dreams isn't just my's a personal belief I follow with everything in me.

But when Death crooks a finger, whether capriciously or after a long illness, it makes you look deep within yourself.

Jonathon and I have a deal.  I go before him.  Period, end of conversation.  This was a promise he made to me back when we were young, foolish and thought we'd live forever.  But as we get older, I find myself reminding him of that deal more and more often.  Why?

Because the thought of living without him is intolerable.

I love my husband.  And though there are times I'd cheerfully kick him in the balls and then strangle him without mercy, I still adore him.  He's my lover, my best friend and the only one on the planet who knows me inside and out and still somehow accepts me.  Love is truly blind.

When his dad died, I of course, selfish beast that I am, had barely finished worrying about how Jon would take the loss before I started thinking about how I'd feel if something were to happen to MY sweet baboo.  And honestly, the idea is so horrific I can't even think about it.  I cried over his loss, but I wept buckets over the thought I might have to some day be a widow.

Am I afraid to be alone?  Maybe a little, but being a writer is a solitary pursuit, and I enjoy my alone time greatly.  I can and have gone weeks without seeing anyone.  But what I'm truly afraid of is having a part of myself--the best part--removed.  It may sound like a line in one of my novels, but I'm not sure I'd make it through losing my other half, because that is what my husband is...the other half of my soul.

We've been married twenty-seven years this month, (thank you) and you don't spend that much time with a man without joining your hearts together.  And I know if his was ripped away from me, I'd want to die myself.

So, knowing all that...knowing how important he is to imperative we are to each other, what do we do?  The answer is simple.

Live.  Live and love as if there was no tomorrow.  Think of your sweet baboo as desert and have him first...always.  Don't put off loving him until you have time or the inclination.  Remember death's capricious finger?  We never know when he'll crook it at us.  Wouldn't you rather know you've done everything possible to live, love and enjoy your life and lover?

I know I would.

So, now Jon and I have a new deal.  (Oh, the old one's still in place, or I swear I'll drag him back from the other side!)  Every day is to be treated as if it were the only day that counts.  Today is what's important because we don't know what tomorrow will bring.  And if that means more laughter, love and pleasure in life, I can't imagine arguing too hard with that!!!!

Anyway, I hope my soul searching has given you something to think about.  I know my journey down this new and intriguing road is just beginning.  Maybe in some ways you'll share it with me.

I'll be back on Wednesday with some info about the latest contest I'm having.  Stop by and check it out!

Hugs to all,

CJ England

Friday, March 4, 2011

Wow! What A Ride!!!

Hey all,

I've got a very cool guest blogger today. A new author friend, one who is part of the Truly Madly Deeply Romance Author team. Virna DePaul writes paranormal romance for Berkley and romantic suspense for Silhouette Romance. Her first book comes out in May 2011 and I'll tell you I can't wait.  Let's learn a little more about this new to my blog author.

A former criminal prosecutor and now full-time writer, Virna DePaul writes about flawed individuals who find redemption through courage and love. She teaches online craft chats and workshops at

Virna also writes erotic romance, including her popular “Red-Hot Cops” series, under the name Ava Meyers.

Now that was something I didn't know until I read her bio.  But I'm going to check it out.  You should too!  And now that we've gotten to know Virna a bit, let's see what she has to say.  Welcome, Virna!!!


“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” - Helen Keller

I'm a worrier during the best of times. Obsessive and neurotic during the worst. I notice things—both flaws and beauty—no matter where I am or who I'm with. I notice them in myself and in others, and sometimes I wish I could flip a switch and just be a little less...vigilant. Less aware.

It would be a nice change to be oblivious. More content. But alas, I think I'd also be less motivated to write. Maybe it's because of everything I see and feel, the good and the bad, the constant grappling with discord and disharmony, that I'm able to write the stories I do.

Writing is a double-edged sword. It fulfills me creatively and feeds my need for variety and challenge, yet it also feeds my insecurities, my need to be validated by others, and my inability to truly live in the moment. A piece of me goes into every story that I create and even as I send that story out into the world to be read and, let's face it, judged, I know part of me is also going to be judged. I can avoid reading reviews and move on to the next story a hundred times, yet will I ever be able to let go of that periodic, hollow feeling that I'm just not good enough?

I think insecurity and self-doubt are unavoidable (maybe even critical) for creative souls and I'm not completely convinced the price we pay is worth it. But it's not as if we really have a choice, right? I write because I have to write. Because something inside me has stories to tell and a need to constantly advance my craft.

Thankfully, writing has impacted my life in many unexpected, positive ways, as well. Motivated to attend conferences, I overcame my fear of flying—that is, I still have the fear, but I don't let it stop me from going where I want to. As a result, I've visited many new places and made friends out of strangers. I've pushed myself to take more speaking engagements and teach. I left a job I found unfulfilling and I took a chance on a dream that many thought I was crazy for pursuing.

In veering from the safe and narrow, I've realized two things: 1) maybe I don't need as much validation from others as I thought I did; and 2) as much as I long for peace/security at times, the way to get it isn't through stifling my creative muse, but riding the wild, unpredictable, ornery creature until I've been thrown so many times, getting thrown no longer bothers me.

I love the above quote by Helen Keller, but I think I like this quote even more:

"Life is not a journey to the grave to arrive safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming "WOW! What a ride!" --Ian Coress

So yes, being creative and putting yourself out there will probably always involve a bit of pain and suffering (if only self-inflicted). We write to share our thoughts and experiences and dreams, we explore to truly experience life, and we get banged up and dirty as a result of our explorations. Better that than playing it safe and leaving this world just as evolved as when we entered it.


I gotta say I totally agree with Virna on this one.  Going full speed is the way I roll and a long time ago I learned you've got to eat dessert first!  LOL  Following Your Dreams, as she is, can not only be fulfilling, but to those of us with muses looking over our shoulders (or sitting in our laps as mine often do), it is necessary!

Learn more about Virna by visiting her WEBSITE.  And pre-order her debut mass market paranormal romantic suspense novel, Chosen By Blood (Book 1 in the Para-Ops series), out May 3, 2011 HERE.

Book 2, Chosen By Fate, launches in October of 2011. In addition,  check out Virna's contemporary romantic suspense (Dangerous To Her, 9/11) and her HQN (series to launch in spring 2012).

You can find Virna's books in bookstores and on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other ebook retailers.

Don't forget to check out my FREE READS and the TMDRA FREE READ BLOG.  And take a moment to enter my fun new Spring Fling Contest.  Give me your perfect first line and win a custom written story, just for you!!!!  Details, HERE.

See you next week!!!

CJ England

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

We're Taking a U Turn

Hey all,

Today's blog is a kinda serious one.  One of the things I like to do every few months is reevaluate my life, my career and my relationships.  When you've got as many oars in the water as I do, it helps to take stock of where you are and where you want to be headed.

Jonathon and I have been talking a lot about our future and what we want out of life.  As the years have passed those goals have changed somewhat but in most cases our direction has held pretty steady.  Right now we're lucky enough to be living out one of those dreams with his work, and we're enjoying every moment of it.

But what about my job?  As an author I can do what I do anywhere, so that's a plus.  But I find myself distracted from my goals when life gets in the way.  As much as I'd like to I can't spend 40 hours a week writing.  Being a writer ISN'T my only job and even though I don't have employment out of the house--so to speak--the things that take my time are just as necessary as what Jonathon does to pay the bills.

So what does that mean for my writing?

Well, first off, I've learned I need to prioritize.  When I first started in this business I did nothing but write.  Once I was published I had to add promoting to the mix.  Then, as my name got out there, I found there were other publishing needs that took my time.  Editing, artwork, blogs, fan letters, free reads and a dozen other things that would pop up when I least expected it.  Add all that to my daily life stuff and it could be a recipe for disaster if I wasn't as organized as I am.

But still, when I reevaluate, I see the need for change.  In some places I feel as though I'm spinning my wheels--even going backwards.  And though I love what I do, I hate the feeling that I'm wasting time that shouldn't be wasted.  So, as of this writing, I've come to a decision.  One that may effect some of you who enjoy and support my work.

About a year ago I sent a manuscript in to a New York publisher.  They read it.  (the first miracle)  And they liked my style of writing, so much that while they couldn't use the manuscript I'd sent them, they asked for another one.  Unfortunately, that was just as we were moving to Singapore and everything went wonky time-wise for a while.  Things were so crazy and tangled over there, I had no time to do what they asked of me.

Now I'm in a better place.  We've settled down here in Macau and while life still happens, I've got quality time to do what I love most.  Write.  So that's what I'm going to do and target New York as I do it.  I've got an in, which is more than some can ever say, so I'd be stupid not to follow up on it, right?

So, that's what I'm doing.  My online books may slow down a bit, but I'm putting my efforts into finishing up the story targeted for this other publisher.  I don't know how long it will take, but I'm not going to worry about that.  I'm just going to write the best story I can.

Will I stop writing ebooks?  No way.  IMHO, they are the future and the fans I have here are why I CAN take this step and add another avenue of writing.  I've got several pubs I write for and will continue to do so.  I'm just not going to kill myself and write lesser quality work all for the sake of having a book published each and every month.  Not going to happen.

So, this U turn isn't bad, it's just different.  And exciting.  I've jumped back into a world of characters I really love and no matter what happens in the future I know I'm doing what I've told all my fans to do a hundred times...

Follow Your Dreams

Have a great rest of your week and don't forget to check out my latest FREE READS...

Hustle Into Love and the TMDRA FREE READ Blog

And I've updated my website.  Make sure you check out my newest fun contest . Give me your best Perfect First Line for an upcoming FREE READ and win a custom written story just for you.  See all the details here at and win, win, win!!!!

CJ England