Monday, January 31, 2011

Crikey -- R.I.P

Hey all,

Today is a sad day for me.  I had another blog planned, but then I got a phone call from my daughter back in the states who is taking care of our house for us.  She also is watching over my critters.  And she called with the sad news my sweet ferrert, Crikey had died.

Now Crikey, was getting along in years.  He was over six, which for a cut (castrated) ferret is about 66 (or thereabout) in human years  and he'd been diagnosed with insulinoma.  But most ferrets can live several more years with proper care.  And he'd been doing fine, so to have him suddenly die wasn't just a shock, but a painful surprise.

He was such a great friend.  He loved to snuggle and dook (which is fert speak for jumping around and giggling).  He was the perfect sock thief and loved to slip into someone's purse and snatch their keys.  He loved his hard rubber hot dog (no snickering) and his favorite place to sleep was in the little hammock at the top of the cage.  Preferably, on top of his brother or sister.  And his most endearing habit earned him his name--Crikey.

When he got tired, he'd just drop flat on the floor, his back feet stuck out behind him and his front feet laying along his sides.  And he'd go to sleep.   Just like that.  To some he looked like a speed bump, but to me he looked like a crocodile lying on the side of the river.  And that would make me think of the crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin, which would make me think of his famous comment...that's right...


Yes.  I know my thinking is oft times convoluted.  But I'll miss the little guy so much.  Leaving my pets behind to move to Macau was really difficult, but it was even harder knowing he died and I wasn't there to be with him.  I thank God for my daughter.  At least he was with someone who loved him when he crossed over the rainbow bridge.

As some of you may remember, Crikey is featured in my very sexy romantic tale, Hot Tubs and Hot Hunks.  He is Mandy's pet and helps get her and Sawyer back together when things go horribly wrong.  I added him in as comic relief and found he took over parts of the story.

Just like he took over my heart. 

So, rest in peace sweet Crikey.  I know my other babies, Ginger and Grayboy, Koko and Yumyum, Rafferty and Danny will be there to greet you and show you the ropes.  I love you so much and will miss you nibbling my toes as I try to write the next great novel.


Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....  
Author unknown...

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Friday, January 28, 2011

Reader Gold – Series/Serials

Hey all,

This Friday's Guest Blogger has an awesome post about finding that special author who you fall in love with and want to collect everything they've written.  Check it out below, but first let's find out a little about the author.  Taige Crenshaw says this about herself...

Taige has been enthralled with the written word from time she picked up her first book. It wasn’t long before she started to make up her own tales of romance. With novels set in today, in alternate dimensions, or in the future she writes with adventure, fun sassy heroine’s, and sexy hero’s. Always hard at work creating new and exciting places Taige can be found curled up with a hot novel with exciting characters when she is not creating her own. Join her in the fun, frolic, interesting people and far reaches of the world in her novels.

Sounds great, right?  So let's see what she has to say about reading series and serials.  Please join me in welcoming Taige Crenshaw.


I’ve been reading a lot lately and I love series/serials so I have been rereading my favs. I’ve written on my own blog about my love of series and serials. What they are and how I feel about them. Almost monthly there are so many books coming that are part of a series/serial.

First here are my definitions of them both:

Series ~ Taige Crenshaw Definition:
Novels that has a related story theme but each one is complete in and of itself.

Serial ~ Taige Crenshaw Definition:
Novels that feature/follows the same main character/s yet are still a fresh story each time.

No matter which way you slice it I find whether it is a serial or series I enjoy writing stories like this. It gives me room to stretch my mind, push my characters to give me more and wallow in there adventure even more. Although I enjoy these stories I don’t usually start writing with the intention of it being a series/serial sometimes it just happens to evolve that way.

I write what I love to read and I’m one of those readers that wondered what is next for such and such main character. Or what happened to this sub – character that I liked in this or that novel. I go hunting to find more and when I find it I feel like I’ve struck READER’S GOLD. I jump up and down and shout in glee. LOL.
I’ve been known to search for years to get that book to complete a series/serial I was reading. Hey I’m a dedicated reader and I want the complete set of my series/serial.

For instance I remember many years ago I picked up an author that I hadn’t tried before. The novel was great and imagine my glee that I struck reader gold and it was a series. I went back and bought all of their novels except one which was sold out. I searched and searched for years for this one book and couldn’t find a copy. Not even a used one. I even contacted the author to find out if the story was going to be re-printed. To my dismay it wasn’t at that time. Amazon even had over 200 people waiting for a copy of this book when I checked. I stopped checking the numbers after I saw the amount of people. No one was selling. A few years after looking I finally struck reader gold in 2005 when the book was reprinted and I was able to finish my collection. I know me and over 199 other people were very happy.

Can you imagine so many readers looking for an author? Searching for that Reader’s Gold. That is what I want my novels to be to my current and future readers ~ Reader’s Gold. No I don’t want you the reader to wait a long time for my books but I want you to be so drawn into the worlds that I create you can’t wait to see what happens next.

This is what Reader’s Gold is all about. As my thoughts of Reader’s Gold evolved I thought of all the author’s who have some wonderful series/serials that I feel are Reader’s Gold. They line my bookshelf’s (online and print) and I go looking for them when they are released.

I’m sure most of you have a little Reader’s Gold on your bookshelf so come on and share. Give me some new Reader’s Gold to find.


That was such a great blog and one I can totally relate to.  Jonathon despairs of me because I have so many books and most of them are some kind of series.  So bookshelf is filled with JD Robb, Julie Garland, Elizabeth Lowell, and many many more.  But like Taige, I'm always looking for new authors, so if you have a series you just LOOOOVE, put it in the comments below.

Learn more about Taige by going to her WEBSITE or her BLOG.

And take a look at her latest story coming out this month.  Power of Attraction  - A woman whose destiny has been ordained from birth meets the man who has been prophesied for her--but there is more to him than meets the eye. With prophecies and legacies to fulfill, which way will she go: to a man who may be possibly her mate, or to a dark legacy that could take her life.  Buy January 31, 2011 at Total E-Bound

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Apple A Day Keeps the Frustration Away

Hey all,

As some of you know, I got a new computer this Christmas.  (shhh...don't tell LUCAS, my old computer)  It's a MacPro, which is a first for me.  Up until now I've been a PC laptop gal.  But my darling LUCAS was getting a little slow, and we decided to try a Mac since we'd heard so many good things about it.

So far we've liked the new computer (who I'm still waiting to find out his name).  Very easy to operate and though I can't use all my programs in it--I still have LUCAS working part-time--it is a gazillion times faster than my PC.  And while I know PCs can be fast, that difference between the two was what I noticed first.

And we can use it to watch all those US TV programs online that we miss, like Bones, Criminal Minds, CSI, Eurka and others.  And after a steady diet of old Discovery, History and Biography, a few crime dramas, comedies and other fun is just what we've been needing.

But over and above, having a computer that works without all the crashes, glitches and other problems of my PC is such a relief. 

The hardest part though, is switching from one operating system to another.  In many ways they are polar opposites of each other.  I mean, if the exit button is on the right on a PC, it's on the left in a Mac.  Scrolling in word is done differently.  And those are just a couple of examples.

It's really irritating that I can't find anything.  I mean, I know it's just because it's a different system, but what takes me seconds to find in LUCAS can take an hour in the new machine.  And the biggest problem is I don't have the time to just sit and work with it--too much other stuff to do--so I just pick through it the best I can.

Just why is it, that those who work with electronics can't pick one way and stick to it.  One of my major pet peeves is going to a grocery store and when I'm trying to use the ATM debit card, I can't figure out how because EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM IS DIFFERENT!!!!!

Because some designer somewhere had the need to be unique and special?

Come on.

I was really irritated with Apple until I was told their system was first and the PC model came afterwards.  So now I'm really cranky with them.  LOL

I know this post is just a ramble, but sometimes my thoughts go that way.  But for those who are wondering if an Apple is worth it, I'd have to give it a big YES.  It is easier to work with and other than a bad file that came from LUCAS, I haven't had any crashes or glitches.

I won't give up LUCAS.  My photoshop, website design program and a couple of other important things are on him that I can't do on the new one.  So I won't be completely PC free.  So I'll have the best of both worlds, with all the information at my fingertips.

So does that mean I do menages after all?  LOL

I'll be back on Friday with another guest blogger.  Taige Crenshaw will share a little about her life and loves.


CJ England

Monday, January 24, 2011

When Is News Really News?

Hey all,

Today's blog is sort of a rant, but not really.  Just something I shook my head over and thought I'd share about.

Having lived overseas now, I find I get impatient with some of the things that are "BIG NEWS" items back home.  Here, the news is still censored in a lot of ways, and while I DON'T agree with that, glancing through Yahoo at what the newsies consider VERY HOT and EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, I just have to shake my head.

I mean just today I was told that I HAD to know how much Justin Bieber spends on his signature bowl type haircuts (seriously?), was supposed to care whether Obama colors his hair and get excited over some obscure tic-tac-toe facts.

Now, I use to work in journalism, and I know all about the different types of news stories.  The hard news vs the fluff pieces.  But is it just me or does it seem like there is a hell of a lot more fluff then there is really important news?

And yes, before everyone gets cranky, I know different people like different things, which is why we have fluff as well as hard stuff.  But in a world where economically we are at a crossroads, deal with terrorism in every state and country and environmentally, we wonder if we'll have a world to worry about, do I really care about a sixteen year old boy's hair style?

Is it just because I'm an old broad?  Am I missing Walter Cronkite and the real news of the past?  Maybe it's just that the internet has opened things up so much we have so many more fluffier choices, we are inundated with them.

But whatever the case, sometimes it's hard to filter through all the cute kitty stories, viral videos and the red carpet fashions to find the really important stuff.  The stories that can and will affect and often change our lives.

What do you think?  What stories have made the most impact on you?  What was your favorite fluff story that you've seen, and what do you think is the most important hard news story of the year so far?  Let me know in the comments below!

Hugs and see you on Wednesday,

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Friday, January 21, 2011

Discovering Romance

Hey all,

It's Friday again and this week's blog comes from another Samhain author, Shona Husk.  She's new to my blog, but her work is some of the most intriguing I've come across.  Let's learn a little about her, shall we?

Blessed with a lively imagination, Shona spent most of her childhood making up stories. As an adult she discovered romance novels and she hasn't looked back. 

Always fascinated by dark fairy tales and the paranormal, it's not uncommon to get to know spirits, vampires, were-creatures and demigods through her books. 

In her free time Shona likes to keep fit and get creative in the kitchen...Toblerone brownies anyone?
When she relaxes with a glass of wine at the end of the week she likes to lose herself in a good book.

So, let's take a look at what she has to say about her journey into Romance Land!


I was a late starter when it came to reading romance. I was 27. I didn’t find a stash of Mills and Boons in my grandmother’s cupboard, or even fall over historical romances at the library. Nope, I stumbled over romance in a ‘how to write’ book list of genres.

Tragic, but true.

I then rectified the deficiency in my reading experience by buying scads of romances of all types and, again by accident, discovered paranormal and fantasy romance.

While I’d always read fantasy and sci-fi, I’d always wondered what was missing…now I knew. It was the romance. The day might be saved but usually at the cost of love. Why couldn’t the hero defeat the villain and get the girl. Why couldn’t the heroine study magic and get the guy?

In fantasy romance she can.

That was when I knew what I wanted to write. I wanted to indulge my love of fantasy and the paranormal and have a HEA.

When did you discover romance novels?

I can't remember ever NOT reading a romance.  I grew up on Harlequin, Grace Livingston Hill and Barbara Cartland.  When I hit my teens I swiped bodice rippers from my friend's moms (sorry guys) and then moved into what became my favorite romances--anything by Norma Roberts.  Then much later I discovered sensual romances and once I found those I never looked back. Though La Nora will ALWAYS be my number one favorite.

So, tell Shona when you became a romance fan in the comments below.  And find out more about Shona at her WEBSITE.  And don't forget to check out her newest release at Samhain.  How To Breath Fire is an awesome story that takes place on a fiery world where emotions heat up as quickly as the action does! 

I'll be back on Monday with another blog about my world and the magic in it!  You all have a wonderful weekend!!!!

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Most Awesome Cool Excellent Feeling

Hey all,

Do you know I've been  here in Macau for almost six months?  Where does the time go?  I'm finally a little more settled and I've been able to really get back into my writing. To my great joy, my imagination didn't suffer with the short hiatus I had to endure as we moved around the globe. Instead I've now got so many ideas rolling around in head I'll be writing until I'm a hundred and sixty-four!  LOL

Do you think having all those ideas is a most awesome cool excellent feeling?  

Darn right it is.  Sometimes I get so excited when a new idea pops up I can hardly stand it.  I'll dance around the house like an idiot until I'm sure my head will explode if I don't get the idea written down.  Sometimes the plot for a book will emerge fully formed, and all I have to do is write it down.  Other times I'll see something...a person...a place or an action that gives me an awesome idea and voilà!!!  A story is born.

The other day I was working on my latest WIP, and I hit a place where the words just flowed out of me. It was like watching a  rushing river.  I didn't stop writing for three solid hours and when I was done I had done over 5,800 words.  I was bloody amazed.  And I wondered why I couldn't write like that all the time.

So was that speeding tide of words a most awesome cool excellent feeling?

Oh, yeah!  And even better, when I went back to edit it, it was really clean.  A few typos here and there, but for the most part what I wrote as I rode the river is exactly what I will send in to be edited.  A nice extra for a 180 minutes work!

Yet for an author there is another most awesome cool excellent feeling.  One that we all look forward to...yet in a ways are saddened by.  The finishing of a book.

For me, the hardest part of writing is a book's ending.  You are saying goodbye to characters you've spent weeks and sometimes months with and have come to love,.  Plus, you want to make sure the readers who have spent time in your world can put your story down and be completely and totally satisfied with what they've read.

No pressure, right?  *snort*

But even with all that, finishing a book IS a most awesome cool  excellent feeling.  Since I rarely know how the book will end until I write the last page, I'm just as surprised as my readers at the finale.  (My husband still thinks it amazing that he can come home from work and find me weeping over a scene I'm writing.)  So for me it is extremely rewarding to pull together those last loose ends, give my characters that necessary "Happily Ever After", and finally write THE END.  Why, you may ask?

I want to know what happens, too!!!! 

Anyway, all this leads to one unmistakable fact that I'm sure many people in my profession will agree with.  Being an author is...

A Most Awesome Cool Excellent Feeling.

Check back with me on Friday for my latest guest blogger.  Shona Husk will be stopping by to share some things about her world and life!


Monday, January 17, 2011

Dance Like No One Is Looking

Hey all,

Just last Friday my latest book came out. So I figured today would be a good day for some shameless promotion. I don't do much of that here on this blog, so I hope you enjoy learning a little about this new story. Here's a quick blurb.

A chance meeting between two people leads to an evening of dance, love and memories to last a lifetime.

When Heather meets the dark, handsome Dustin at the Wildhorse Saloon, she has no idea the single dance he asks of her will lead to the most important moment of her life. But although the connection between them is immediate and powerful, she belongs to another, and all she can take home with her is the memory of a love that can never be.

Dustin St. James lives, breathes and loves music in Nashville. As one of the most sought after studio musicians around, he has his pick of gigs and of the ladies. Yet he's knocked off his feet when the purple-eyed Heather dances her way into his life. Having to let her go leaves a hole in his life and in his heart.

But Fate has plans for these two and when six years later they meet again, the emotions they share have only grown stronger. Can they struggle through the tangles of the years apart, or will their long awaited dance of love end before it's had a chance to begin?

This story has been perking around in my brain for over seven years. In fact, I was writing Waiting in the Wings when I first visited the Wild Horse Saloon in Nashville. And, as I sat there watching the dancers and munching on the delicious fried pickles, I realized this was a perfect place to set a book.

There was such a great response to the first of the Second Chances series, I decided to do a trilogy. And I remembered how much fun I'd had at the Wildhorse. And I remembered meeting a certain hunky dancer who had taught me all I wanted to know about doing the two-step. I put both of them together, added a lady in distress, stirred briskly, and Life's A Dance came to be.

And, since this series targets specific social issues, I chose domestic abuse to highlight in this story. For more on that, check out the blog I did at Midnight Seductions. It shares all about the issues I think are so important I'd put them in a book.

I hope you all will enjoy this last of the trilogy. At least I think it's the last. There is a new generation toddling around in Nashville. And little J.J., Cláirse, and Treasure definitely are character's themselves. Who knows what might happen in a few years?

Until then, take a look at Life's A Dance.  Read an excerpt at and then go pick up at copy at Aspen Mountain Press.

I'll see you on Wednesday with a blog explaining the joy and sorrow I feel at finishing a story.

Hugs to all,

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Golden Globes, Following Your Dreams, and Why I Back Angelina Jolie and Dog the Bounty Hunter

Hey all,

Today we have an awesome blog by fellow Aspen Mountain Press author, Cynthia Vespia.  She has a lot to say about chasing dreams, and since I totally believe in doing just that, I loved this post!!!
But before we read about that, Cynthia says this about herself.  

Cynthia was drawn to writing early in life where she developed a successful career as a freelance journalist writing everything from features and fillers, to reviews and human interest stories. But it was the allure of the fantastical worlds of fiction that always remained her true passion. 

Today Cynthia mainstreams suspense fiction with savagely powerful characters and strong storylines. Cynthia likes to refer to her novels as "Real life situations that you could find yourself in but hope to God you never do.

 I know I can't wait to read more, so without further ado, let's welcome her to the blog.  Take it away, Cynthia!!!

Back in the day you chose your career path by becoming an apprentice and learning a trade. This could be to keep the farm all in the family, to learn from the local blacksmith, or even the study of medicine with the only doctor/dentist in town. You would essentially shadow this person and learn everything you needed from them to successfully venture out in the world and either take over their business or open one of your own. 

With the progression of the world came many different choices and career paths, which in one sense is absolutely the bees knees. On the other, it made everything that much more complicated. Now you sell your first born or mortgage your house for the opportunity to go to school and learn a trade that you're interested in following. If you're lucky you land this century's version of an apprenticeship and intern somewhere for little to no money. 

It is a slippery slope, my friend, and it takes a lot of doing to get to where you want to be. And unfortunately a lot of people give up on their dreams along the way. They get caught up making a living in a job that is far less than they're capable of because of society's rules that you must have a 9 to 5 and be responsible. That's all well and good but you don't have to sacrifice your soul to be responsible either. You don't have to give up on your dreams because you have a mortgage or a car payment.

I heard a line in a movie the other day where the lead spoke of running his own health food store, and then went on to say: “It's funny how it's so hard to do what you want.” That made me stop and think and it is the reason for this blog, rant, opinion piece...whatever. Why is it so hard to do what you want? 

My answer is that we get in our own way. We make it hard, people! We paint these fantastic pictures of what we want to do, be, or have in our lives and then we let them diminish. We give up too soon. So many times we're at the precipice of what we want to accomplish in our lives, and then we hear the word “no” and we stumble and fall.

It's time to push past those limitations. Get out of your own way and face whatever may be holding you back in life. If you're already on top of the world...outstanding! Keep climbing! For the rest of us it's time to forge into 2011 and really make it the best year of our lives. Are you with me?

I like to watch the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards because it looks like a fantasy world, doesn't it? But recently I started observing something else. I get a little tingling feeling when I watch the red carpet and all the celebrities gathered in a room and especially during their acceptance speeches. Why? 

Because it makes me want it more. It makes me say “yeah, that is going to be me soon.” Theoretically, of course. I have no interest in being an actor, but my point is that all those faces that you recognize everyday on TV and in magazines...they all had to start somewhere. And I don't care if they had a relative in the business or whatever other advantages they may have had starting out. A lot of them didn't. A lot of them came from nowhere with nothing and they carved out a path through hard work and diligence.

If you missed Jim Carrey on Inside the Actor's Studio, he blamed his success on this insane amount of confidence in his ability to make it and on strong visualization. Believe it, see it happen, and live it! That's why I always sign my books “Live your dreams.” It is not enough to dream a dream you have to LIVE it.

I mentioned Angelina Jolie at the top of this, and I'm sure a lot of people cringed. Stay out of the tabloids for a minute. No one really knows what went on with the whole Pitt-Aniston thing. The only thing I care about is that Jolie is an extremely talented actress, and that she is one of the rare celebrities who actually uses her status for positive change in the world instead of winding up in rehab, etc.

Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I agree. Live to your fullest potential. Each of us has something special to give to the world. It is a shame to see potential flushed down the toilet. This is why my favorite new TV show is Dog the Bounty Hunter. 

I really enjoy watching him capture the criminals who think they can escape, but the real blessing is what happens in the back of the car when Dog tries to talk these lost souls back onto a path of being a functional member of society. Yeah, its a TV show, but it is nice to see in a world where the media reports on everything negative, and the sky is literally falling...or at least it seems that way when thousands of birds come crashing to the pavement. 

I started writing because I loved creating worlds, characters, and stories to engage the reader. Writing is my dream, it has been for years. And I will continue to do it until the good Lord calls me home. 

What is your dream? What defines your success?


It makes you think, doesn't it?  And it ties in nicely to my contest I'm having on my website.  Share your bucket list with me and you can enter to win some nice prizes!

But give Cynthia an answer.  What is your dream?  What makes you a success?  Let her know in the comment box below!

And learn more about Cynthia and her work by checking out her website.  Or follow her on FACEBOOK or TWITTER.    And get a look at her newest release, Life, Death and Back at Weaving Dreams Publishing.

I'll be back on Monday with a shameless promotional blog celebrating my newest release, out today!!!!  Second Chances III: Life's A Dance!  Come on by and check it out and maybe win a very special prize!!!!

Hugs to all,

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Terrorism -- Do We Ever Really Live and Learn?

Hey all,

I know this is a heavy subject, but living over here, we seem to hear much more about it than we used to in the states.  In the five months we've lived in Asia, we've seen attacks in Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia.  And that's only on this side of the world.

It doesn't seem to matter where or what it's about, terrorism seems to be the most popular way to get your point across even if it does wind up killing a lot of innocent people to do it.  And that's just cowardly.

We all have issues.  I've got reams of them.  But just because I may disagree with how my neighborhood Walmart prices their meat, doesn't mean I'm going to blow up the deli area of the store.  

I guess that what bothers me so much.  Some of the reasons for these terrorism attacks seem just as arbitrary and ridiculous as me taking out the meat counter at the Big W.  And sometimes we don't even get a reason at all.  That's even worse.  All that death but no explanation given.

And worse still yet is when someone we trust, someone we have put in a position of authority betrays that trust and becomes a terrorist themselves.

Case in point is the August 2010 bus hijacking of Hong Kong tourists that ended up with eight of those tourists being dead.  The hijacker was a disgruntled policeman who wanted his job back.  There goes the trust.  But what made it even worse was his ex fellow cops bungled the hostage crisis so badly, they were the ones that caused the deaths of all the people and almost brought two nations to war.  Both the hijacker and the authorities are people you're supposed to be able to trust, but instead they wound up killing innocent people.

The hijacker resorted to terrorism to try and force his employers to give him his job back.  A far cry from sending a pleading letter or even threatening to sue for an illegal firing.  Seems like a lot of people don't try to solve their problems the right way before they go to the extreme.

But are these types of terrorists any different than those who kill in the name of their God or country?  Does scaring people really work?  You've made your point, but so what?  Did 190 people dying in Mumbai change anything except make everyone hate terrorists even more?  Do suicide bombers blowing themselves and others up, really do anything positive for the cause? Yes, we may be more aware of them, but other than that...I've never really understood why they do the things they do.

Our world has changed so much it's frightening.  A simple vacation now has to be vetted on whether it's even safe to travel there.  Jonathon and I know that from experience.  We didn't go to Bangkok last year because of the unrest there with the red shirts.  And we wouldn't travel in certain parts of Asia now because it's not safe.

And if you've read my newsletter, you'll know why I don't want to travel in China.

Anyway, terrorism used to be something we heard only once in a while.  But now, it's almost an every day occurrence.  It's become such a part of our lives our kids are even taught how to identify the signs in grammar school.  Grammar school!!!!  And we were worried about sex education?

I'll be back on Friday with a guest blogger-- Cynthia Vespia.  So make sure you check out the blog for that great post as well.


CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Monday, January 10, 2011

What Would You Do for A Second Chance?

Hey all,

Did you read online about the homeless man who was in the right place at the right time and it changed his life?

In a nutshell, Ted Williams, a man trained as an announcer, but fallen on hard times due to alcohol and drug addictions was filmed by a local newspaper reporter using his golden voice to panhandle on the side of the road.  One listen to the man told the reporter, here was something special, and when he uploaded the video on Youtube, he was proved right.

Now, Mr. Williams' life has changed literally overnight.  He's been reunited with his long lost mom, offered his dream job working with the Cleveland Cavaliers and has even done a voice over for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  All within a 48 hour period.  Not bad for a man who was living on the street.

Now what caught me about this story was the idea of a second chance.  Here was a man who had, in his own words, destroyed his life with alcohol, marijuana and cocaine.  No matter how hard his loving family tried to help him, he spiraled downward until he was not only living in the streets, but had been arrested for theft. (to feed his drug habit)

Years went by and I'm sure some of them had almost given up hope.  Even though he was two years sober, he was ashamed to reunite with the family he'd spurned.  And then, a chance meeting with a reporter opens the door to an awesome and life changing second chance.

How wonderful is that?

If that reporter hadn't stopped...if Ted Williams hadn't been on that corner that day...if he'd had a sore throat and been unable to speak, nothing would have changed.  But God put all of it together and this man now has a chance to start his life anew.  A little wiser and a lot humbled.  And I pray he can keep it together and make this change permanent.

In the book I have coming out on January 14th, from Aspen Mountain, I speak a lot about second chances.  In Second Chances III: Life's A Dance, Heather and Dustin have a second chance at love after years apart.  But pushing through the baggage of those years isn't easy and therein lies the story.

It's the same for any of us.  Whether it's a second chance after domestic abuse or addiction, or because of the economy, you're facing learning a brand new trade just to make ends meet, it may not be an easy journey, but the rewards at the end are life changing.  Like Ted, we all have it in us to face the future with courage, even if we are forced to do a "do-over" in some way.

Whether you've lost your job and are training for another one, praying to by picked up by the publisher of your choice, or just hoping to get that minimum wage job at the gas station, don't give up believing in your very own personal second chance at happiness.

Because if a homeless, ex-drug/alcohol addict who has spent years on the street can get a life changing make over in less than a week, who knows what second chance you have in store for you!

Hugs and I'll be back on Wednesday with a look at something that effects us all.  Terrorism.

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Love of a Good Alpha Hero

Hey all,

Today we are lucky enough to have Raine Delight as our very first guest blogger of 2011.  She's a fellow Aspen Mountain Press author and one who is very popular around the internet. But don't take it from me.  Listen to a few of these great reviews of her work. 
Devon Falls: Sticky Magic is a sizzling adventure about finding love when you least expect it. 
Devon Falls: Red Hot Magic is a must read to get your heart beating faster. 
Devon Falls: Fiery Magic  I would compare Fiery Magic to an utterly seductive Belgium chocolate. An aphrodisiac with a flavor that lingers on the taste buds which you want to savor but is too quickly gone. 
Babes in Toyland II has left me absolutely speechless. All I can say is: Hold on tight and get ready for a new favorite!!”

 Her bio says this... Raine Delight is a multi-published author who enjoys writing about alpha heroes who need the love of a good mate to settle their heart. 

Sounds great, right?  You can check out more about Raine at the end of the blog.  But until then, let's see what she has to say about those Alpha Heroes.  Welcome Raine Delight!!! 


I love strong alpha male heroes. There is something about them that makes my heart race and sigh with delight.What makes a really good alpha hero? One that in my opinion is also with flaws. You know the strong hero with a heart of gold he keeps hidden. I don’t mean one that is so vile and mean that you want to toss him out the window. I mean those heroes who come off strong, tough but with the right person, melt into a puddle of goo. Who doesn’t love an alpha male hero who is redeemed by the love of their soul mate?

In my book, Haunting Magic, I have a wolf shifter who has to find his mate before Halloween or risk being a lone wolf for the rest of his life. Rodrick Dracon was a fun character to write. He had a different woman (or women for that matter) every night with a charm that could have been slimy but came off as adorable….well except for Jax, his nemesis and the one woman his wolf wanted for a mate. I never imagined these two hooking up per say. The sparks flew whenever they were together but my muse was determined to show these two stubborn people they were perfect for each other. I let the muse flow and voila! A story that has gotten good reviews plus it became my best selling book ever at Aspen Mountain Press and a cover that everyone drools over. Writing Rod as a strong alpha male had me swooning because he didn’t steamroll over Jax, she went toe to toe with him and in the process both found a love that was meant to be.

An alpha male character, in my honest opinion, is only as good as the mate he is destined for (be it female or male). They have to be just as strong and able to not let their soul mate(s) run right over t hem. For that I love strong main characters, ones that fairly simmer with life and practically step off the pages-into your room and heart. I just finished another Devon Falls book called Moonlight & Magic, a tale of a lone were-tiger looking for his mate and a place to call home. Michael Barnes was at first a shy quiet man until he informed me quite loudly I should say, that he was a tiger, not a house cat and made me scrap the first draft and rewrite it all over again. After reading what I wrote the second time, I totally agreed with the character and my muse. He was a stronger character the second time around who, with his sight set on Dixie, made sure that she knew how much he wanted her. He wasn’t without issues either. Michael had to show Dixie the love he was feeling for her would last longer than one night plus he had to trust her with the one thing he had of value-his heart. Both characters are strong in their own way and perfect for each other.

I draw upon my favorite books that had some memorable characters as inspiration for my characters. You know those authors like Sherrilyn Kenyon, Keri Arthur, Lena Austin, Sierra Dafoe, Claire Thompson, Josh Lanyon and more who create many wonderful characters for readers to fall in love with. With each book I write, I try to draw on my inspiration and give the characters that spark that makes them lovable as well as believable. 

So tell me, What makes a good alpha male hero in your mind? Have any favorites that make you swoon?


Well, do you?  Let's talk about those Alphas.  Let Raine know what you think in the comment box below!  And if you're interested in learning more about Raine, you can find her at her WEBSITE, her   BLOG, her YAHOO LOOP or on Twitter at Raine_Delight. She is published at Aspen Mountain Press  and upcoming at The Wild Horse Press

And I'll be back on Monday with another blog on my crazy wierd life.

Hugs to all,

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Relections of 2010

Hey all,

I thought I should take a moment to reflect on 2010 and ponder what I have in store for myself in 2011.  It's that time of the year when a person looks at the old and wonders about the new.  

I actually enjoy doing that.  Reevaluating and looking at what I've done during the past year.  Even when there are things I would do a different way, it helps to know that since I can take the information and make changes in my life.

For me, parts of 2010 were awesomely great!  Other parts sucked big time.  But that's just a part of life, the ebb and the flow.  And I'll use the sucky parts to make my 2011 even better.  

So, here, in no particular order are the Highs and the Lows of CJ's 2010.

The Lows

1.  Starting out 2010 without my sweet baboo since he was working overseas.  It was the first time in our married life we didn't ring in the New Year together.  It really made me feel for those men and women who have their own darlings away from home serving in our military.  For me it was a one shot deal, but for them it's a painful way of life.  I send my prayers to both those in our armed forces and the loved ones they've left at home.

2. The hardest thing I've ever done in my life was to get on the plane and fly away from my children when we moved to Macau.  I'd never been away from them before.  Not like this.  Unlike a lot of kids they didn't move away from home when they turned 18.  It was easier and cheaper for them and  for us to stay at home.  Jonathon and I often joked if we wanted any time by ourselves we'd have to be the ones to move away .  And then we did.  LOL  But saying goodbye to my children was beyond a doubt the most painful thing I've ever had to do.

3.  Because of all the moving around we did, I didn't do a lot of writing.  Rather than six to eight books which is my normal yearly output, I only did two new stories.  I still had four published, but most were reprints.  But I did dream a lot and I've got tons of new ideas.  I'm hoping 2011 will be the year I can bring them all to life.

4.  When I got back from our time in Singapore, I got sick.  Not just a cold.  This illness put me flat on my back for almost two months.  It wound up being a virus that attacked my kidneys and they think I might have picked it up overseas, but they couldn't be sure.  All I knew was giving birth wasn't as painful as what I went through during a few of those weeks.  I couldn't write, read or even watch TV.  All I did was lay in bed.  Thank God for my dreams.  They were what kept me sane!

The Highs

1.  Moving to Singapore to be with my husband and getting to live there for several months.  It wasn't our first time living overseas, but this time we were put up in a residential hotel, and I didn't have to do any cleaning at all.  I did very little cooking or laundry and so I was able to spend all my time sightseeing (which I did mostly) and writing.  Not too shabby a time in my life.

2.  While I was in Singapore, Jonathon was sweet enough to send me on a week long writing retreat.  I went to this very quiet resort in Malaysia and wrote for a solid week.  It was wonderful and it was the only time all year I'd really had time to do nothing but write, write, write.  I can't wait to do it again.

3.  Going on a six week tour of different parts of Asia.  At the time we didn't know we'd be moving over here, so each moment we spent was so very special to us.  The people we met, the things we saw.  It made us realize how lucky we were to have the ability to see those things.  And how fortunate we were to be a part of a country (USA) that for all it's foibles and problems, I'm glad to be a citizen of.

4.  Moving to Macau and settling into a brand new life alone with my sweet baboo.  We took six suitcases and our dreams, left everything else at home and started out fresh.  It was fun to put together an apartment again, especially since the first time we did so, we were so poor all our furniture was either hand me down, Salvation Army or early American dumpster diving.  LOL  This time, since things are so inexpensive here (for the most part) we were able to furnish the whole apartment with things we really liked.  In fact, I'll be hard pressed not to take some of it with me.

So those are just some of the highs and lows of the last year for me.  There are actually a lot more, but there isn't room in this blog for all the wonders I've experienced in 2010.  Nor do you need to hear me whine about the things I wish I'd done differently.  Just know that each of of those good and bad moments make me the person I am today.  And I'm pretty happy about that!

And I'll bet whatever happened in your 2010 has made you a different person as well.  We are all marked by our experiences, but the trick is how to make them work for us.  So let me know what you did in 2010 and how it made you a better person.

And don't forget to check out my newest contest on my website.  It's all about reflecting on your past and dreaming of a bright new present!

Hugs to all,

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mr. Efficiency is NOT alive and well in Asia

Hey all,

I see you're back to hear my latest rant.  As you all know, we live here in Macau and for the most part, we enjoy living in an Asian country.  But every once in a while, I just get so irritated with how they handle things over here.  Now, I'm the first to say when in a different culture, do as they do, but there are some things that span cultural lines and IMHO efficiency is one of them.

No, no, no.  I'm not talking about the nasty man with the clipboard who is trying to be so damned efficient he cuts jobs by the thousands.  I'm referring to the basic, simple and obvious ways that efficiency can be used every day. 

1.  Now, my first introduction to Asian inefficiency was in something we saw almost every day.  We let it go for the most part because after all, we're in THEIR country.  It's us who should adapt to them.  But as time went on, we both realized that what we were seeing had less to do with us adapting (which we are doing) and more about the inefficiency of the people involved.

I'm talking about cab drivers who work with predominantly English speaking people who don't know a stitch of English.

Again, before you jump me, remember I know I'm in their country and I do know some Cantonese now.  (a teeny tiny bit) But seriously, if you work everyday with someone and your livelihood depends on it, why wouldn't you at least know the English for places tourists and Westerners go to every day? 

I've been in dozens of taxis since I've moved here and I'd say close to 75% of the driver know little or NO English at all.  Not even words like airport or ferry terminal, which are the number one places tourists would go.  If you were a cabbie and knew you'd make more money knowing a few words in another language, wouldn't you take the time and effort to know some of the basics?  Mr. Efficiency does NOT speak English in Asia.

2.  This one frosted my cookies but good.  You know how in the states you make a reservation in a restaurant for a specific time?  For example, we would make it for 6:00 or 6:15, right?  And the restaurant would then book the same table for about an hour later or so.  They do that so the restaurant can turn over as many people as possible. and thereby make as much money as possible.  Well, not here.  Here Mr. Efficiency can't eat out on busy days. 

Why?  Because for some reason we just can't fathom, they don't do it that way over here.  Instead they have seatings, like they do on cruise liners.  For example they'll have a 6:00 to 8:00 seating or a 8:00 to 10:00 seating.  And if you have a table booked, you can come any time within that period of time to eat.  Even if you get there at 7:30, as long as you finish up by 8:00, you're good to go.

But do they fill that table that sits empty for an hour and a half?  NO!  So, you can go to a restaurant at 6:00 and the whole place will be empty, but you can't get a table, because the seating is supposedly booked.  And that's just ridiculous.  They lose big time money doing it this way and it's just bloody inefficient!!!

3.  So we're walking back from the fireworks on New Years Eve and we see that one of the bridges has been blocked by rescue vehicles.  It's quite a distance away, but we stop and watch.  From what we could see, someone had fallen into the lake from the bridge.  Now, like every other rescue crew on the planet, there were a copious number of rescuers on the bridge, but unfortunately Mr. Efficiency couldn't get anywhere close.

Tell me why on earth you'd have a ladder truck, boats, and a special lift, but instead of using any one of them, you toss a rope over the side and pull the poor guy up by hand?  Now before you jump me again, please understand that Jonathon and I both have rescue training, so we've worked some of these kind of scenes and what we saw was not only inefficient, but dangerous.  A rope?  Pulling up the rescuer and the victim together over the railing. 

It took them over an hour to get that poor guy out of the water when he could have been out and in a boat in less than fifteen.  Happy New Year?  Right.

4.  And now finally... a magical type of inefficiency.  And this one made me craziest of all.  We discovered that Mr. Efficiency doesn't go to Disneyland.  In fact, I think he runs screaming from the one in Hong Kong. *grin*

I told you we had a wonderful day there and we did.  I love Disney and spending our Christmas Eve there is a a memory I'll always hold dear to my heart.  But having worked at Disney and Universal theme parks and knowing how things are supposed to be done, I have to say, it was one of the worst run places I've ever seen.

The cast members were wonderfully friendly, the ambiance outstanding, the theming, top notch.  But the efficency of getting people on and off rides?  OMG...  If Walt was alive, he'd be screaming his head off at these people.

They do the same thing on rides as they do in restaurants.  They put you on and off in big groups.  So instead of farming you onto rides as a car gets empty, they wait and do a whole bunch at once.  And that...any operations person can tell you, is completely and ridiculously inefficiency.  Lines that should have taken fifteen minutes to go through took almost three times as long because they did the whole stop and go thing instead of feeding us on in a constant stream.

And since Walt Disney was all about efficiency and guest satisfaction, I think he and Mr. Efficiency would both be plenty irritated at what is going on at Hong Kong Disney. What's that Disney song?

I know that your powers of retention
Are as wet as a warthog's backside
But thick as you are, pay attention
My words are a matter of pride
It's clear from your vacant expressions
The lights are not all on upstairs
But we're talking kings and successions
Even you can't be caught unawares


LOL  Obviously, I'm reaching a bit, but please guys!  Do it right, for Walt's sake.  And Mickey's too!

So, how about that for a great rant?  I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.  What do you think about it all?  Have you been a victim of inefficiency so bad you want to rant about it?  Here's the place.  Put your very own rant in the comments below!

Check here on Wednesday when I reflect back on the year 2010 and what it meant to me.


CJ England
Follow Your Dreams