Sunday, February 28, 2010

Promo Sunday- A Peek at Another Vampire Book

Hey all,

Today I thought I'd give you a peek at one of my favorite books, An Unholy Embrace. This story has been published in both e-book and print format by Aspen Mountain and Under the Moon respectively. The cover (Aspen Mountain) to the left was CAPA nominated.

I've had numerous requests for a sequel. Fans want to know what happened to Sebastian and his lover, Teran after the first book ends. So, in the future you may see them in another place or another time. If you'd be interested in another story about the brooding Sebastian and the innocent, Teran, give me your opinion in the comments below.

Here's the blurb about this short story.

Sebastian is an ancient vampire who has lived in the forest for centuries living off the blood of any unwary villager who happens to cross his path.

Teran has grown up in the shadow of the great forest, unwanted and unloved. When she comes of age and her loveliness sparks the interest of the men in town, her life becomes even more difficult.

When the vampire rescues her from a near rape, he finds himself enthralled with her beauty and her quiet courage. Teran falls in love with the brooding stranger, but when he breaks his word and steals her mind, she runs from him.

But Sebastian can't forget her and vows to win her back. Will Teran forgive him? Will they have a chance at eternity forever?


He had lived in the forest a long time. Longer than many of the trees that surrounded him. Longer than the mortals that called it their own. He used them as he needed. They were his food, his sustenance. Now, one had literally fallen into his arms.

Sebastian gazed down at the unconscious woman. He’d thought at first she was a child, but she was just small boned and very thin. Yet, he could feel her womanly curves as he held her close against him. Her clothing was threadbare and patched, but clean, with the faint scent of flowers.

He brushed the long black hair from her oval face, frowning at the marks he saw there. They did not belong on such beauty as this. Her skin was like fine porcelain with high cheekbones and a full pouting mouth. Her long black lashes fanned down over eyes he’d seen were a dark blue.

He saw the hot blood racing through her veins. His body tightened and his mouth watered. He wanted to bury his teeth into her neck and taste her living energy. Passion grabbed him in a burning fist. He wanted to bury his cock into her heat and let himself go like he hadn’t in decades.

His thoughts were pulled back by the sound of men crashing through the trees all around him. His eyes narrowed. The men were chasing this woman. Why?

He tucked the small human under his arm and moved so he was nothing more than a shadow in the darkness. One of the men blundered past him and with the speed of a striking rattlesnake; Sebastian reached out and knocked the man to his knees. Moving faster than the mortal could see, the vampire knelt and gripped the man’s head with his large hand, using his enthralling powers to keep him still.

He snarled as the reasons for the chase were made plain. These men were rapists, intent on ravaging the beauty he held in his arms. He looked down at her bloody face and his anger flared. He would not allow this.

He bent and put his mouth close to the enthralled man’s ear. “Not this time,” he whispered. “She has escaped you.” Making a fist, Sebastian clubbed the would-be rapist, sending him sprawling to the dirt.

Then lifting the woman into his arms, he melted away into the shadows.

* * * * *

Teran’s eyelids fluttered. She felt like she was slowly pushing up, up, up, through a thick mist. She smelled the scent of burning wood and something very soft was stroking across her cheeks. Her eyes flickered again and this time she made out the form of a man sitting beside her. It was he, who was caressing her so carefully, so gently.

“Can you hear me?” His voice was deep and rough. It stroked over her nerve endings like a soft kiss.

“Who are you? Where am I?” she croaked and then blushed at the raspy sound of her voice.

“My name is Sebastian and you are in my house. I…came upon you in the woods.”

Teran’s eyes cleared. “You rescued me.”

His lips twitched. “I spirited you away.”

She shuddered, remembering the lechery in her pursuer’s eyes. “I’m Teran. I owe you my thanks.”

“Should you not fear me as well?”

She studied the man who sat beside her. Tall, dark and definitely handsome, he had a brooding quality about him that gave her pause. His face was long and thin with sculpted cheekbones. His sensuous lips were framed by a mustache and small goatee. He had shoulder length dark hair and deep piercing brown eyes that seemed to gaze into her very soul.

Wide shoulders and muscular arms were easily seen under his tight fitting, black silk shirt. His dark slacks covered hard thighs. Teran blushed when she saw that the bulge between his legs was as big as the rest of him. Heat curled tightly in her belly.

She raised her eyes to his, struck by a longing to be closer to this man. She shook her head dazedly. She’d never felt quite this way before, but he was right. She was alone in his home and she didn’t know him. She shouldn’t trust him. She should run from him the same way she ran from those other men. Still…there was something about him. Something in his eyes that made her feel…safe. Safer that she’d felt in a long, long time.

I hope you enjoyed this new excerpt from the story. As I said, it is available in both ebook, HERE or as an autographed print anthology, HERE. In fact, the black and white drawing you saw above in the excerpt is the art for the story in the print edition.

I'll be back tomorrow with guest blogger, Rie McGaha who has a story about a truck!!!!

Hugs to all,

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bit's and Pieces - All Kinds of News

Hey all,

I'm back from Indonesia and wow! Can't wait to tell you all about it. I'll do a two day series on it on Tuesday and Wednesday this next week. But the pic below is of the pool at the Bintan Lagoon Resort where we stayed. And was amazing.

Because I got home so late, we slept in and so this blog will be short and sweet. I'm going to let you know a couple of changes to my schedule with this blog as well, as some news about our vacation over here.

So, first off, Jonathon has decided from this point on to take each Wednesday and Thursday off. On those days, we will travel around and see as much of this area as we possibly can. In fact, this upcoming week we are probably going to go north and visit what is touted to be the oldest rainforest in the world--Taman Negara in Malaysia It's a four hour journey by bus and we are deciding now whether to do it by bus, train or rent a car, or do a longer four or five day trip and go up as far as Thailand. I'll let you know when I do.

But, anyway, since he has those days off, it makes more sense for me to switch my guest blogger to one of those days to cover the blog. So, starting on 3-08-2010, with Heather Gardener, my guest bloggers will be seen mid-week. I may or may not have a blog on Thursday since I'll most likely be gone. Make sense?

Okay, now to #2... I know I've mentioned this before, but Jonathon just got the official email before we went over to Bintan. They've extended his time here until May 6th, so my vacation of three weeks has now been extended as well. I'm quite pleased because it will give us more time to do all the things we want to do and make it easier cost wise since we'll have a place already paid for here in Singapore.

I'll also have time to write during the day which I've been itching to do...just kept feeling I had to go out and absorb everything before I leave--NOW! LOL So I can slow down a bit and do both. In fact, after I write this (my time, it will be about 3:00 pm Saturday as I do) I think I'll head over to Chinatown and see what things look like now that it isn't CYN.

And lastly, #3. As far as my career and writing goes, this may slow it a bit, but I can live with that. After all, how often can you see the Far East this way? And I have to tell you, the ideas I'm getting over here are just rolling in. I've got a notebook I carry around and write things down and I'm almost half way through one already!!!!

So, we'll see what happens, and my writing won't suffer, but it may take a bit longer to get them out to you since I can't spend 8 hours a day putting fingers to a keyboard like I could when I lived in the states. Sorry guys, but I just can't help getting distracted by what's around me. LOL

Have a great weekend. I'll be back tomorrow with a quick look at one of my books and then of course on Monday we have our guest blogger, Rie McGaha.

And don't forget to go back if you haven't and look at my series of the Chinese New Year. It was one of the most enjoyable times of my life and just as much to share it with all of you!


CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chinese New Year Pt. Four - The Spectacular Chingay Parade

Hey all,

This is the last of the installments about the wonderful Chinese New Year. I've saved the most amazing to end the series. The Chingay Parade.

Now, when we heard about this parade, we knew we wanted to go, but we really didn' t have any idea what we were getting ourselves into.

They say this about the parade itself...

The word Chingay is from the Hokkien dialect, of which the Mandarin equivalent is Zhuang Yi (妆艺), meaning "the art of masquerade". Started in 1973, this national festival of Singapore began as a neighborhood parade and was a totally Chinese event then. Today, the parade has evolved to be the grandest street and floats parade in Asia, showcasing the rich, vibrant multi-ethnic and cosmopolitan cultures of Singapore and exciting performances from overseas, Held during the Chinese New Year's period thousands of individuals, organizations, local international communities and private sectors in Singapore come together to take part in this grand and highly spectacular festival every year.

I have to say it was the most spectacular parade I've ever seen and remember, I've seen some pretty damn good parades! But this one was like a mixture of Disneyland light parade and a Las Vegas Show. The lights, the costumes, the floats were beyond anything I've ever seen.

But rather than tell you, let me show you. The following are some of the fantastic costumes that were seen. And remember, each one you see, you can times in by 100. There were that many of them!!!!

And now let me show you some of the floats we saw there. Absolutely spectacular, Disney has nothing on this light parade!!!! The first float came from where Jonathon is working...Resort World Sentosa's Universal Theme Park...

So I hope you enjoy my little glimpse of the Chingay Parade. As I said, this is a spectacular display and I'll let you know when I've got the videos up on the website. I'll be back in a couple of days to tell you all about my surprise trip to Indonesia! Courtesy of my sweet baboo!!!

Hugs to all,

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chinese New Year Pt. Three - River Hongbao Carnival

Hey all,

And part three of our CNY blog series is on the amazing carnival they have over the week long period, that ends with the spectacular Chingay Parade, which I will be sharing with you tomorrow.

But first I have to tell you about the River Hongbao, which was the most spectacular carnival I've ever seen, seriously, and I've been to a lot of places.

Into its 24th year, the River Hongbao has been Singapore's annual signature event to usher in the Chinese New Year. It has everything from mouthwatering food street and cooking demonstrations, handcrafts and souvenirs, traditional Chinese song and dance performances and cultural activities such as Chinese Lantern Riddles and competitions.

At first you think it's like any carnival, but then you walk around the corner and onto a floating marvel. Lights drip from the sky and there are dozens upon dozens of majestic large-scale displays of popular Chinese mythical characters.

I can't tell you how overwhelming it is. Seriously, it's hard to know where to look next. First off, you have the God of Fortune staring down at you. Every once in a while he showers passerbys with gold confetti, to symbolize good luck.

He's got to be as big as a a three story building and as colorful as a rainbow. The "gold" litters the floating dock and dozens of the faithful gather to pick up the pieces and keep for luck.

The God of Fortune is one character that you'll see all over the place. He's a big deal over here and wanders around blessing people during the holiday.

The stage shows were going on as we arrived and we watched amazed as acrobats, singers, wrestlers, and dancers of every possible ethnic group took their turn.

The talent, the color and the performances were more than I expected at a roadside carnival, but that should have told me what I had to look forward to. The rest of the carnival was beyond amazing.

First off, they had something that made my mouth drop open in awe. As you know, dragons are huge in the Far East, and even more so during the Chinese New Year, whether it is the year of the Dragon or not. But this was absolutely amazing to me.

In the picture to the right, you'll see my handsome husband standing in front of a dragon. But not just any dragon, this one is made entirely of spun cane sugar!

This is a type of Lantern Art, where Chinese craftsmen sculpt beautiful images out of sugar. This dragon was perfected using several thousand kilograms of sugar. When this sculpture is lit properly it glows a gorgeous amber color and it was hard to believe it was made of sugar in the first place. Only the fact they were selling lollies made of the amber-c0lored sugar made me believe it was actually what they said it was. The work was so exquisite.

Then there were the 12 Chinese Zodiac signs. All life sized and animated they showed the characters growling, snarling, running or standing as they towered over the crowd.

Above is the Tiger and the Snake, again all huge and lit up like Christmas trees. Also, with them is a placard that tells a little about each sign. My Chinese zodiac symbol is the rat, and I've picked up a few trinkets with info about the little critter.

Now each of the zodiac symbols is huge, you can see from the pics above. And there are 12 of them, so you can get a picture of just how big this area of carnival is. And I haven't even started yet.

There are booth after booth of food and drinks to be had, dozens of handicrafts, my favorite being the Chinese paper cutting, similar to Scherenschnitte, which is the German version. I'm going to get one of those before I leave. They are exquisite.

Then there were the other displays. This first one was amazing and I had to include it today. It shows a peacock and a dragon, which is the symbolic meaning for yin and yang. Female and male. What was amazing to me was this display was made of of dishware. China to be exact. That's right. China. And it's beautiful. As you can see from the picture on the right, you can see the dragon's head is made from plates and Chinese spoons among other things. They are wired and glued together and I have to tell you, I was impressed!

Now there was a ton of other gorgeous displays so I'll end with a few more pictures, but I have to say that I was completely and totally impressed by this carnival. It was a cultural treasure trove and we stayed and enjoyed for a very long time. I'll be back tomorrow with the last of the stories about the Chinese New Year.

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chinese New Year Pt. Two - Let's Toss a Little Luck

Hey all,

Today's blog is about something really fun. It's called the Lo Hei-- or Tossing of the Luck. I had no idea what this was when I came here. I'd never heard of it. Then Jonathon and his work buddies were treated to a session of Lo Hei at work and he came home raving about it.

When I found out they were going to be doing a session here at the hotel for residents I jumped on it, excited to see what it was all about.

Well, let me tell you, we don't have anything like this at home. Here is a little background on Lo Hei...

Yu Sheng is a popular raw fish salad traditionally served on the 7th day of the Chinese New Year season, which the Chinese celebrate as everyone's birthday. It's a tradition for families to toss the salad while calling out Lo Hei!, which means to whip up or toss up good fortune. It's believed that the higher you toss the salad, the greater your luck and prosperity in the New Year! Learn more by going to

So, does that make sense? Basically, you make the salad, then toss it up in the air with chopsticks. The higher you toss it, the better your luck for the year.

The pic above is what it looks like before you begin the toss. The salad (noodles) in the big pan and then the condiments--peanuts, sesame seeds, sauces and other goodies, and finally raw fish--we had salmon. Each ingredient has it's own meaning and is important to the whole.

The idea is to do this with friends and family. Since the residents of the hotel all get to know each other pretty well, they became the friends for this toss of the luck. After we'd been treated to a wonderful lion dance and blessing by the God of Fortune, we gathered around the table for a session of Lo Hei.
First, you add, one by one the condiments while the announcer blesses each one and explains the reasons they are there.

Sesame seeds- symbolizing a flourishing business for you.
Peanut crumbs- symbolizing gold, silver in the household as well as eternal youth.
Flour crisps- set out to give good wishes of gold for the entire world.
And don't forget the fish--salmon--which is the symbol for abundance for the whole year. Oh, and it's raw, by the way. *smile*

So, now we are ready to go. We have all the condiments on the salad which is made of shredded white and green radish--meaning prosperity at work and eternal youth respectively. Also, shredded carrot is added to give us blessings of good luck. There are spices and oil to put on at the last minute symbolizing luck, hope and encouraging money to flow into the household.

And now we toss. Remember, the higher the toss, the better the luck. We did pretty good. No one really wanted to toss it into the ceiling fans, but we got pretty close. And all the while we were shouting Lo Hie! Lo Hei!

It was a blast and since most of us there were foreigners, we were able to really get into it. Kids, adults and seniors all grabbed the chopsticks and tossed away!

Food went everywhere. I was wearing it on my arm and once, I'm pretty sure, the kid next to me tossed something on my head. But it was so much fun. We laughed and although most of us had never done this type of thing before, we did a pretty good job of tossing the luck.

Afterwards, we pushed it towards the center of the table, the last thing to do to encourage good luck around the table for everyone.

I wasn't sure what to do next, but the announcer grabbed a plate and started dishing up the food.
So, even though I'd seen where some of that food had landed, I thought, "what the hell" and dug right in.

I was surprised. It was actually really good. A delicious salad and one I could easily eat again. Luck or no luck tossed in.

Jonathon grabbed some of my luck as well and we chomped away, enjoying this new Asian treat. Afterwards, we chowed down on an entire Asian buffet trying out all kinds of new foods from sushi to noodle dishes to the obligatory rice.

They even had a dessert. Cream puffs that were to die for. Jonathon didn't like them, so that just left more for me. LOL So, what could I do. After all, I wanted to taste all the new cuisine didn't I?

So there you have it. The tossing of the Luck, or Lo Hei. It was one of the best times I've had here and I'm glad I could share a part of it with you all. I'll leave you with the aftermath of the tossing, knowing for once I'm not the one who'll have to do the cleaning up!!! LOL

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chinese New Year- Pt. One - Fireworks, Lion Dances and Fun

Hey all,

As I mentioned, Jonathon and I were fortunate to be here in Singapore during the Chinese New Year. Now I consider myself a patriotic type of gal, but I have to tell you, these Singaporeans knocked me outta my sandals with how they celebrate their new year!!!!

I always thought New York's Time Square rocked, but I have to tell you, Chinatown was something like I've never seen during this special Asian holiday.

First off, a little background--(a very little, I don't want to get boring here.)

The origins of the Chinese New Year celebrations were born out of fear and myth. Legend spoke of the wild beast Nien (which also is the word for "year") that appeared at the end of each year, attacking and killing villagers. Loud noises and bright lights were used to scare the beast away, and the Chinese New Year celebrations were born.

For more information on the Chinese New Year, go to

The Chinese New Year is a bit different than ours. It isn't just a couple of days (New Year's Eve and then the day). It is more of a two week celebration that people really get into. I've been at some really great New Year parties, but I gotta tell you, what I saw here makes every one of those pale in comparison.

Let's start with fireworks. Of course they'd have great ones, they invented the things. It's amazing just how pretty they can be over scenery that you aren't used to seeing. I'll have more pics up on my website, but for now, you can see a few of them here. My camera isn't great at night pics, but you'll get the drift!

Fireworks over Clarke Quay, near our hotel

These fireworks are ones done near Merlion Park over the Singapore Flyer.

I'll add this one was actually in the Chingay Parade, but they set off firecrackers. Now I have to tell you...these are not your daddy's firecrackers. When they set these things off, you couldn't hear, breathe or think. I told Jonathon later, it must be what being on the front line of a war was like. In a word, terrifying! In this pic you can see some of what's going on as they did it. I couldn't take any more pics. Seriously, I was blinded and fighting for breath.

Now, this next portion of the blog is something strictly Asian. At least I'd never seen it before in all my years and it was absolutely amazing. It's called the Lion Dance and they use it to celebrate not only the New Year but many things. The origins are as follows...

The Chinese Lion Dance goes back some one thousand years. The first record of the performance of an early form of the Lion Dance dates to the early Ch’in and Han Dynasties (Third Century B.C.) The lions express joy and happiness. From the fourth day to the fifteenth of the New Year, lion dance groups would tour from village to village in traditional China.

For more information on the Lion Dance, go to

Anyway, like I said, this dance is amazing. I've got lots of pics, and even a few videos that I will share. But the dexterity of these acrobats as they do these dances are amazing. They make the lions come alive and when they do the dances up on poles, well, let's just say I was totally impressed. I'll have more up on my website when Jonathon shows me how to upload to Youtube.

And finally, for this blog, the fun part. Now actually I've already shown some of that--fireworks and dancing is a lot of fun-- but for me the overall fun part was watching the Singaporean people as they celebrated their special holiday.

Young, old and every age in between really gets into this thing. It was none the more evident on the New Year's Eve when I was walking around in Chinatown. It was crowded. Think what it looks like at Time Square and then double that in a very small two square block area. Seriously, it was like being pressed together in a very happy sauna. LOL

It is like a carnival atmosphere, with hawkers screaming about their newest wares. (the shamy guy would do great over here!) There are taste treats to try, everything from fried eel to cookies to Indonesian coconut milk, right in the coconut. (good, but not my fave) There are special CNY decorations everywhere and beautiful clothes, trinkets and gifts abound. Everywhere you look there is something new and interesting.

I sat and watched a hawker sell those hair thingys. You know--the ones where you can weave your hair into impossibly beautiful ornate knots? I was amazed at the response. Not just women crowded around him, but a lot of men too. Ooohing and aaahing over what he was doing. I tell you, if you're a saleman, you need to be in Singapore. These people get crazy over all kinds of things. LOL

Anyway, here are a few more pics of the overall New Years in Chinatown. It's so hard to describe the energy, joy and pleasure these people get out of it.

So there you have it. Your first of four CYN blogs. Let me know what you think... Tomorrow I'll share with you the fun and amusing tradition of Lo Hei--the tossing of Luck!

Oh, and I will be out of computer range for the next few days. Jonathon is taking me to a resort in Indonesia, so I won't be able to send out reminders for the blog. Make sure you come on back and tell your friends all about it!!!!

Take care!

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams