Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Life is a Challenge

Hey all,

It's time for another guest blogger. Today I have the honor of introducing Viki Lyn, a fellow Aspen Mountain Press, Samhain, and Loose Id writer who writes manlove romances. Here is a bit about her, taken from the GLBT bookshelf.

Viki Lyn is a successful writer of edgy, erotic, sexy man love. Sparked by a keen interest in yaoi, also known as Japanese Boys Love manga, she began her own love affair with male/male romance. After reading and collecting whatever she could get her hands on, she created the popular Yaoi Rose review site. Once she wrote her first man love romance, she was hooked. Inspired by the reality that romance between lovers is a hope more than a guarantee, Viki’s characters are fiercely independent. Her stories are an eclectic mix but it is always romance that drives the story to its final happily-ever-after.

Please join me in welcoming Viki to the blog!!!!


For those who don’t know me, I write male/male romance under my pen name – Viki Lyn. I went from writing historical romances to m/m romance about a year ago, my first m/m published in June 2009. So I’m celebrating my one year anniversary!

Many of my friends and family and readers asked why I made the switch.
I’ve been writing for about ten years. I began with shorts that were awful. Then I challenged myself to writing longer stories that were equally awful! I still have them buried on some CD stashed under my desk. But even though I was terrible at writing, I wrote more and more, and slowly began to improve. I really enjoyed the process so I got serious -- took classes, joined my local chapter of RWA so I could meet other authors and learn the business side of writing. In 2006, my first book was published by Samhain, a 1960’s het romance set in San Francisco. From there I wrote a WWII trilogy and a 1913 romance.

Writing is quite a journey, and I found myself stymied after publishing my 6th novel. I was bored. Ugh. Not such a good thing for a writer with an Aries sun sign!
I needed to reinvent myself and kick-start my writing career – so I did some soul-searching. I gave myself permission to take three months off from writing. I spent that time doing the things I love – reading, watching movies, traveling, spending time with friends and family...

I’m a big yaoi fan (Japanese boy’s love comics) and have over 300+ in my collection. I also collect DC comics, and especially drool over Dick Grayson (the first Robin, then Nightwing, and now wearing the mantle of Batman, although Bruce Wayne will return one of these days!) Okay, so I read Batman/Nightwing slash, too. *red in the face* I’ve always enjoyed reading m/m romance and mysteries. I had lived in the gay district in San Diego before moving to Arizona, and our neighbors, a wonderful gay couple became our best friends. They had a loving relationship of several years before one partner passed away. I wanted to write a HEA story dedicated to them, and well, for me, gender isn’t an issue in a love story. Once I wrote my first m/m romance I was hooked.

My other love is traveling and visiting sacred sites. I’ve always been interested in ancient history, mythology and spiritual places and my art had centered on spiritual themes. So, to incorporate this into my writing, I tried my hand at writing paranormal/fantasy. One of my most awe-inspiring trips was visiting Malta and the World Heritage Neolithic temples. My husband couldn’t go at the time so my oldest sister joined me (I have three sisters, and they are my biggest fans!). We had such fun together, first visiting Positano, Italy, and climbing all the zillion of stairs to our amazing hotel room with an incredible view of the Amalfi coast. I actually lost weight on this trip!

Then we took a flight to Malta. The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum (4,000 BC to 2,000 AD) was the highlight, an underground temple sensuously carved out of rock. It was an amazing experience to walk along the ancient pathway through arched chambers and burial rooms. The rock was alive with an inner glow. From this experience, something inside of me changed, and I carried this feeling back home. Someday I hope to express this amazing experience into a book.

I can’t believe it’s already June. It’s a busy month. If I don’t change some of my bad habits I might not meet all my goals this summer. I have to get organized! Yeah, really, I do. I’m a panser but find that sometimes I need to rein in my characters, or more truthfully, rein me in.  I’m willy-nilly all over the place when writing!

Challenges are good, right?

Thank you CJ for letting me post today and ramble on…
Viki Lyn

Thanks, Viki for coming. It was interesting to see how you got to where you are and I envy you your trip to Malta.

For more information on Viki and her work, go to her website at: or her blog at

I'll be back next time with a selection of recipes and drinks I enjoyed while I was overseas. I think you'll enjoy them too!

Hugs to all,
CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Monday, June 7, 2010

Did You See What Was Going On in Nashville???

Hey all,

Well it's Monday, and I'm back with my daily blog. Sometimes it will be about my time overseas, but I'll also be talking about whatever rocks my boat for the day. I've got tons to tell you about Asia, but we all know that like cheesy home videos, travel blogs can get old too. So I hope by changing things up, I'll keep you all interested in what's going on with me and my world.

First off, let me remind you about the contest that is going on this week. Check Friday's Blog for deets! Now let's move on to what actually caught my attention today.

Has anyone seen what is going on in Nashville? This last month? Have you seen any news coverage on it?

Nashville was flooded out when the Cumberland River rose thirteen feet above FLOOD stage.

A friend of mine sent me a video and I was astonished at what I saw. Places where I'd walked played, sang and worked were underwater. I immediately got on the phone and touched base with my friends living there. I got through to some, but quite a few still have their phones out. Which worried me even more. What the hell is going on up there?

And why the hell didn't the newsies give them more than sixteen minutes on National News? I know that other things are happening too, but still... This is our own of the most popular destinations in the USA and we barely heard anything.

Look at the pic of the Grand Old Opry here. It's bloody underwater!!! Do you know how much money goes through here on a yearly basis? Just why wasn't it important enough for the newsies to talk about.

Maybe I'm prejudiced because I love Nashville and everything about it. Obviously I've been there. Anyone who's read my Second Chances trilogy should be able to tell that. I've vacationed there, worked there and played as well. Jonathon and I have looked at moving to that area and still might in the future. I guess it just bothers me that people died and there was over a billion dollars in damage and Lee Harvey Oswald's cab getting sold to a Illinois museum gets more press than a devastating natural disaster.

Okay, I'm not just bothered...I'm pissed. A little over a month later and what has been done?

Where are the calls for aid? Why hasn't the Red Cross beat the drum like they've done in other disasters? Have they, but the news stations aren't reporting it? Check out some of the links online. This isn't just a puddle on the street we are talking about. Hello? Thirteen feet ABOVE flood stage!!!

At least the country music people did something. A benefit to help out and it went quite well. Plus a lot of the artists donated money to help out, but it bugs me that more hasn't been reported. Bugs me alot.

Anyway, I'll step off my soap box now. If you want to make a donation to help, check out these two links. They should be able to point you in the right direction. or

I'll be back next with a story about a bat cave. And I don't mean the one with the guys in the tights! Jumping monkeys and temples, Batman!

Hugs to all,
CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Friday, June 4, 2010

Vacations Can Be Heaven and Hell

Hey everyone,

Here it is. My first real blog since coming back on the job. And since that's true, I thought I'd do blog on the whole thing overall.

I discovered I loved traveling and I despise it.

Why you ask? Well, it's one thing to go away for the weekend, but when you live in another country (or several) for an extended period of time you find yourself becoming unsettled and longing for a single place to call your own.

As I think I mentioned in my returning blog, when we do this again we will have a single home base to go back to--one closer I mean. That way we can rest and recharge. Otherwise living out of a suitcase the whole time can get really old.

The best part is, of course, discovering all the great new places and things the world has to offer. We saw so much...tasted, touched and heard so many different foods, scenery and music. Since we were in one place so long, we indulged our senses as much as we could.

We tried all kinds of different foods and drink. We visited as many parks, temples, museums and attractions as possible. We collected music, stories, and friends wherever we could. And it was amazing.

The memories we have will never go away, even after the souvenirs break or the pictures fade.

But there is another side to living elsewhere. And it's not so fun. And that is the many different irritants that can hit you every day. Most of them, you just shake off, but after a while, you find yourself snarling at things that were only shrug worthy when you first started living there. And bit by bit you those irritants make it so you aren't having so much fun anymore.

You fight through and continue on, but now the shine isn't so bright and the taste may not be quite as delicious.

Example? Dealing with a culture who thinks nothing of spitting on the floor in front of you in a restaurant. Kind of offputting when you're trying a new dish of Hong Kong Noodles.

Example? Trying to find a bathroom in China that has been cleaned in the last millennium.

Example? Being looked down on day, after day, after day, after day after day...for no other reason other than you are female (I have breasts you know), blonde hair and dress differently. That get's really old.

But even with all that, we'd do it again. While we've traveled extensively, both together and separately, this was the first time we'd done it for so long a time without actually moving our whole household there.

That we won't do again. Having a place to call your own is important. When things get too much for you, you can hide away and take a deep breath to get your balance back.

On Monday I'll start sharing stories with you all about the favorite place I visited. And because of that, I figured a contest was in order.

Can you guess what it might be? Where my favorite place I visited was? Give it a try to be entered for a copy of my next released e-book story out from Aspen Mountain this month.


Put your guess in the comments below and a week from now, I'll draw from one of the correct answers!

And for those of you who are following me, I'll be sending your thank you gifts out by the end of the month. Aren't yet? I still have a few gifts left, so the first six others who subscribe (see this blog for details-- will also get a free thank you!!!

Talk at you all later!!!

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Life After Vacation

Hey all,

Our guest blogger today had to reschedule, which was cool since I wanted to have a bit of a chat with you. Denyse will be back another time to tell you all about herself.

I'm exhausted. Both physically and emotionally. While we had a wonderful time overseas, being gone for sooooo long is tiring on a person. We've learned that if we do get another job in a different country, we'll make sure we have a place to call our own. Any other way is difficult to deal with after a while.

So, did I have a good time?

You betcha! LOL The time in Singapore was some of the best in my life. We did so much, learned so much and experienced more than I can begin to tell you. Being able to live in a new country for an extended period of time really gave us a chance to experience the culture and go to places a short vacation wouldn't have allowed for.

And the best part was that Jonathon and I have grown so much closer than we ever were before. It gave us a glimpse of what it will be when we are on our own and I have to say, as much as I love my kids, having that one on one time (no joke intended--well, maybe a little one-- *giggle*) was wonderful. Just him and me against the world. I loved it.

And the actual vacation afterwards? Let's just say it was a trip I won't ever forget. I'll be blogging about parts of it and you'll see for yourself! I have some stories for you. Let's just say I won't be going back to China any time soon.

But life doesn't stand still, does it? We've moved back from Southeast Asia but we aren't staying here in Orlando for long. Since Jonathon is now done with Universal, I finally get my wish and we are moving. Not sure where to yet. Jonathon has to decide what job to take. But we are looking at Tennessee, North Carolina, and one up in New England area.

I don't really care...I just want to be out of the city. Please God. Out of the city. Lightning bugs and pine trees. Snowball fights and crackling fires. That's the life I've been missing.

So, anyway, I came home, unpacked--still doing that--and now I'm going to have to pack up my house for the move. That and finish several writing projects I've had to put off because of being overseas.

Just another day in Paradise.

As you can see I'm going to be busy for the next few weeks. I'm hoping Jon knows where he is going quickly so I know what to plan for. Honestly, I can't wait to start packing up. The sooner I'm packed the quicker I'm headed to the mountains.


I'll be back on Friday with the first blog about our month long vacation. I'll even toss in a contest for all my fans to get things going again. Thanks to everyone for reading while I was gone. I hope you'll enjoy the new blogs!!!

Hugs to all,
CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

And She's Back!!!!!

Hey all,

I'm back in the USA! WooHoo!!!! I just wanted to touch base with everyone and let you all know.

This will be a quick blog, but I'll be here again tomorrow with an update on what's going on in my life and what the future holds. It's going to be interesting!!!

Thanks to everyone for their good thoughts and prayers. I know it's what got me out of a few messes overseas. LOL

BTW...just to let everyone know, I've been getting a LOT of spam at this blog--all from anonymous sources. And the only way to prevent that is to change my settings so I won't be able to allow anymore anonymous posts. I'm really sorry if that messes anyone up, but I really hate seeing these uglies on my blog, and I won't let them do it any longer.

So, from today on, if you want to comment (and I hope you will continue to do so) you'll have to log in as someone OTHER than anonymous.

That's it for now. If you have any questions, just let me know. I'll leave you with this great pic of Jonathon and I in front of the temple of Ankgor Wat in Cambodia!!! It was....AWESOME!!!!

Hugs to all,

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams