Sunday, October 28, 2012

CJ's Vaction Blog Contest - 1st Sunday's Pics

Hey all,

This is one of my all time favorite funnies.  The look on the cat's face just cracks me up!  LOL


Now, here we go with your next picture to work on.  I'm sure you can come up with something hilarious for this one!  *grin*

Remember you can do up to three captions/quotes per picture.  So get that brain a working!!!!  Need to see the rules again?  Check HERE for that.   Good luck and Have Fun!!!!

Hugs to all,

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Thursday, October 25, 2012

CJ's Vaction Blog Contest - 1st Thursday's Pics


Hey all,

Hope you enjoyed your first funny!  I can't help but smile every time I see this one.


Now, here we go with your first picture to work on.  This one just screams for an inspiring quote. 

Remember you can do up to three captions/quotes per picture.  So get that brain a working!!!!  Need to see the rules again?  Check HERE for that.   Good luck and Have Fun!!!!

Hugs to all,

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oh YEAH...It's My Vacation!!!!!

 No man needs a vacation so much as the person who has just had one.
-- Elbert Hubbard

Hey all,

As mentioned before, I'm heading out for vacation and the above quote pretty much says it all about how WE do our time away from home.  We'll pack it so full of fun and adventure, we'll be exhausted when we get back!  LOL

But just because I won't be around doesn't mean the blog will close down completely.  While I may not be here to kibitz with you, I've set blogs ahead of time so you'll have a bit of fun while I'm gone.

I'll even toss in a contest, just to keep you guys from getting too bored.

So each blog will be two-fold.  Something to make you smile, and a contest to keep you coming back for more.  Ready to see what I mean?  Here we go.

Simple, really, so you won't have much to do.  Below are the rules for CJ's Vacation Blog Contest...

1.  In each blog I will have a picture.  These are pictures I've either taken myself or received from someone online.  Some will be landscape, some, fantasy type, and some, a character, person or animal.

2.  To enter the contest, you must do the following things.  EACH ONE needs to happen or you won't be entered.

 a.  Take a good look at the picture.  Then, give it a caption.  This can be like an LOLcheeseburger type humorous caption, or you can do a famous quote.  Just make sure you acknowledge the author of the quote.

 b.  Write your caption/quote in the comments section available with each blog.  Also tell us why you chose the caption/quote.

 c.  You can submit up to three captions/quotes per picture.  Please put each one in a different comment box.  Each will be considered separately.

 d.  Send an email to with your snail mail address, full name, and email contact address after the first blog picture you caption, so I'll have you on record as entering the contest.

 e.  To be considered for entry, you MUST submit captions/quotes for a minimum of five pictures.  You can do them all, and those will be considered as well, but you have to do five to be entered in the contest.

 f.  All entries must be turned in by November 18th to be considered.  Anything coming in after that will be disqualified.

 g.  In each blog I will have a link back to this blog so you can review the rules if necessary.

*Note *  Want to be entered twice for every picture you do?  Then have a friend enter and complete the contest.  All they need to do is let me know in their first comment that you (YOUR NAME) sent them and you'll be gold.  And for each friend you bring to play, the number of entries go up.

Now, even if you don't consider yourself as creative, give it a shot anyway.  It's not the quality that counts here, but the willingness to try.  We all love to laugh or be inspired, so let's see what we all can come up with.

3.  When I'm back from vacation, I will go through the entries and use my Photoshop program to add your captions/quotes to the pics.  I will then post them on the blog, so all can see what you've come up with.  Some will also be shown on my chat list and FB page.

4.  Once that's done, I will put all the entries in a hat and choose two winners.  These will be chosen by November 30th, and the winners will be announced on December 2nd.

And what will you win?  How about this...

For everyone who enters as the rules require, you will receive a postcard from me, here in Germany.  A little something special to say thanks for being a reader.

The grand prize winner will win a special basket filled with German goodies.  Things I'll put together as Jonathon, Jessaca and I do our castle tour.  There will even be a few German Christmas treats, since Germany is so famous for it's holiday.  Plus, you will ALSO win my latest release, Luck Be a Lady, from MUSA publishing.  (If you've already purchased that story, send me a copy of your receipt and you can have your choice of another book)

And the runner-up winner will receive, a copy of my latest release, Luck Be a Lady, from MUSA publishing.  (If you've already purchased that story, send me a copy of your receipt and you can have your choice of another book)  Plus a small, something special gift from the Black Forest in Germany.

How does that sound?  Pretty good?  Cool!

So stand by!!!  It all starts next Thursday with one of my favorite pictures for you to work with.  Remember to follow the rules carefully.  Don't leave anything out and get disqualified.  It's not hard, and once you've started, I think we'll all have a blast.

So take care, and I'll see you back on the 18th of November.  God bless and love you all!

Hugs to all,

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Thursday, October 18, 2012

God's Gift Is A Family

Hey all,

Two more blog posts and then I'm on vacation for a whole month!  WooHoo!  My daughter is coming to visit us and we'll be busy exploring and having a great time together.  It's been almost a year since we saw each other, so we're going to go hoarse yammering about the latest news.

It's hard to be away from my kids.  My son Jeramiah's birthday is today, and I can't hug him and wish him well.  (If you want to, go wish him Happy Birthday on his FB page.  You can embarrass him for me!  LOL

My other son, Jasiah, is having eye surgery at the end of the month, and I can't be there to hold his hand.  Sometimes, living the dream isn't all that it's cracked up to be.  *sigh*

But at least Jessaca is coming, so I can get a mommy fix.  She's not just my daughter, but a good friend, and we'll whisper and kibitz and do all the things that best friends do.  Jonathon will sigh and roll his eyes as we ogle hot guys, but he loves watching us together.  His two best girls, he calls us.

I can't wait.  I've been looking forward to this time for months.  Jessaca and I are enough alike, I can pretty much plan our time and she'll fall right in.  She'll add her own ideas, and for the most part, they'll dovetail right in with mine, and we'll have a blast.

I think I mentioned we're going to go on a castle tour.  We're heading out the week after she gets here and doing the Castle Road and the Romantic Road here in Germany.  We'll see as many castles as we can before we get bored, soak in the scenery, and once we've had our castle fix, we'll move on to the next phase of the trip.  

We especially looking forward to seeing Neuschwanstein Castle, which is what Walt Disney patterned his Sleeping Beauty Castle after.

We'll also go back into the Black Forest so she can see Triberg and some of those areas.  We're hoping the fall colors are still around so she can enjoy them.  Not a whole lot of autumn in Florida.  LOL  

Then we're heading to Paris for three days.  We're going to show her the sights, do Paris Disneyland and let her experience the magic of the city.  I can't wait to show her all the places we enjoyed.

We're also going to do a weekend in Amsterdam.  She really wants to visit, and it's only a couple of hours away from Dusseldorf, so we're heading there first thing.  There are a couple of castles there we can see as well.

So, as you can see, I'll be busy.  It won't be my whole family to hug and squeeze and call George, but I'll take it!!!!

But I don't want to leave y'all hanging, so I'm going to do something special for those weeks I'm gone.  A fun contest to keep you guys reading, and you'll win some fun prizes as well.  So, on Sunday I'll explain all the rules and get things started.  Okay?


So give your sons and daughters or other various and sundry family members a hug, and remember how special it is that you can do so.  Some of us have empty arms and can only give cyber hugs, even when our babies may need more.  Jessaca's hugs will have to last me until next March when we go home to visit between the tours of Europe and South America.  I plan on loading up on the hugs and kisses then. out!!!  Mommy's coming home!!!  

Until Sunday,


CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Travel Makes a Wise Man Better

~~~Meine Mama hat immer gesagt, das Leben ist wie eine Schachtel Pralinen, man weiƟ nie, was man kriegt~~~

Hey all,

The above quote is in German, and for those of you who don't speak the language, don't go translate it quite yet.  See if you can figure it out by the clues in this blog.  *smile*

As you all know, we moved from Zurich, Switzerland to Dusseldorf, Germany.  We rented a car for less than it cost to fly--even with the one way fee--because Jonathon had gotten to know the manager there at Europcar in Zurich, and he was able to make us a really great deal.  I'd much rather drive than fly--you see so much more of the country AND you don't have to deal with all the mess at the airports and customs.  

Plus, there is that all important aspect that you can find all kinds of amazing things on your way.  We call them distractions...things you see along the way that you 1) stop and explore immediately or 2) add to your already expansive Bucket List, to do later.   Depends on your time and inclination.  

On the way to Dusseldorf, we ran across this amazing church in the town of Limburg, Germany.  It sits above the town like a king on a throne and is the quintessential German-looking church.  Called the Cathedral of Saint George, it's distinctive yellow and brown gingerbread architecture can be seen for miles.  Absolutely gorgeous.  We couldn't stop, so it's added to our list to visit when our daughter comes for a visit.  She loves churches, too.

Finding something like this is like getting a box of chocolates for Christmas.  You open it up and you see all the yummy goodies inside, but you don't know what each one will taste like until you give it a try.

And that, my friends, in a nutshell, is what traveling is all about.

We never know what we're getting into.  It's exciting and scary and irritating, all at once.  For me, who loves to know her plans months in advance (except for writing where I NEVER know what I'm going to write until I dream it) this is quite a stretch.  I've learned not to expect much, so I'm usually happy with what we get.  Especially in a hotel room.

Will we have a big enough bed? (in China a double bed was considered HUGE)  Will we have a view or the city or a parking lot? (or the building next door--lovely *sigh*) Will there be enough room to move around or will the room be the size of a closet? (only Paris was small and it was still big enough to maneuver--carefully) Will we (please God, let it be so...) have a refrigerator and an ironing board?  

Simple things, yet important to daily living.

Then there is getting around in the city.  Will the public transportation systems be easy to navigate?  Will we be close by the city center or out in the boonies?  Near the circus tent or on the other side of town?  Will we have a grocery store nearby or will I be hoofing it or taking a tram?  Will Google map work properly or is it blocked?  (Here in Germany I can only use it for part of the public system--VERY irritating!!!)

Think of it this way.  You've moved your family to a new city.  That means you have to start from scratch, setting up your household.  You have to find schools, the best shops, how to get to work and where all the activities are.  Now multiply that times forty-three (the number of cities this show has been in since it's inception) and you'll have an idea of the challenge we go through each time we move.

Don't get me wrong.  The benefits are OUTSTANDING.  Where else can you travel on someone else's dime, see landmarks and famous sites all over the world and have a chance to do all those things on your bucket list?

And you never know exactly what the next day may have in store for you.  A scary thought for me at first, but it's just a way of life.

Who knew running away to join the circus would be so much fun?

Be back on Thursday with more fun!

PS...Have you figured out the quote? *VBG*

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Are You Feeling Lucky?

Hey all,

It's been a while, but tomorrow I have another book being re-released.  This story is another of my favorites (I know I always say that), one I did way back when I first started writing professionally.  It's been revamped, restructured and expanded, and IMHO, is now a better book because of it.

It's one of my favorites not only because of the unusual premise and fun-loving secondary characters, but because it was the first book I ever really did on-site research for.  Let me share again how the book came to fruition.
Now as you know I only write books that take place in an area I've traveled to. (Even my Sci Fi and Fantasy books have a specific place that was used as a base.)  But Luck Be a Lady's destination was the first book I traveled to JUST because I wanted to write a story.

Where did the research actually take place.  Vegas?  Reno?  Atlantic City?  Maybe New Orleans?  Stay tuned and I'll tell you!!!

First off, the idea for the story came from a commercial.  It was one of those romantic, airy types where a gorgeous man in a tux is kissing a beautiful woman as the sun sets over the deck of a  ship. *sigh*  
As they murmur their love to each other, the camera pans out and you see it's not a cruise boat but one of the special nightly casino cruises.  Excitement fills the air as dealers spread out winning cards, and slot machines sing out the glad tidings that someone just won a huge pot.  The lovers kiss one last time before disappearing into the casino to see if their luck with the tables can match their luck with each other.

Well, that's all it took.  I dreamed about that commercial, and out of the dream emerged Lara, Justin and all the wonderful characters from Luck Be a Lady.

But I'm not a gambler.  My Nana (maternal grandmother) was, and she dragged me along to the casinos when I was old enough, but I hate playing the tables.  I don't like waste, and losing money is just too bloody wasteful for me.  LOL  Plus I've got that whole electricity thing going (remember I stop watches and cash registers and turn off lights), so I'm pretty sure the PTBs would frown on me spending much time near their machines.

Even with all that, Nana's love for the game was one of the reasons I wrote this story, and the book is dedicated in part to her.  Yet, the memories of Nana stuffing coins in a slot machine didn't help me when it came to making sure I described the rich ambiance and exuberance of a gambling cruise.  So I decided to go to the source.

Since we were living in Florida at the time, it was easy to sweet-talk Jonathon into a beautiful summer night cruise on a casino boat.  Especially since the one we chose was free.  Sterling Cruise lines did cruises most evenings.  The trips were four to five hours long and started and ended in Port Canaveral, Florida.  The cruise route took you out to international waters since that is where actual gambling can legally occur.

So we bought tickets, (Yeah, they were free, but you had to have them) put on our best duds and headed out for a fun-filled cruise.  I was really excited, looking forward to learning all the nuances for my story.  My sweet baboo was excited, because there was free food.

Did I mention neither of us gamble?

Anyway, once on board we explored the ship, had some drinks, and munched out on the buffet.  Not the best spread we'd ever seen, but it was filling.  (Made sure I changed that part in Luck Be a Lady.  Lara's guests WILL be impressed with their buffet choices.)  Then we listened to the band play and even did a little slow dancing.  *wink wink*

Then it was time to go to work.  Jonathon went back to listen to more music, and notebook in hand, I went to the casino to do my research.

Did I mention that casinos frown on people taking notes?

Yep.  I wasn't there for more than ten minutes before I was surrounded by big, strong security men.  Not the worst position I'd ever been in, but with my luck the smelly one named Bubba would be the one to strip-search me and demand the truth.

Luckily, in stepped in my hero.  Yes.  That's right.  There actually is a Justin Savage, and he turned out to be every bit the wonderful man I portrayed him to be.

His real name was Warren, and he was one of the floor bosses.  (He looked a little like Robert DeNero)  A foreign national who had worked on this type of vessel his whole adult life.  Once he heard my stammering story and peeked at my notes, he shooed security away.  He let me keep my notebook and escorted me back behind the VELVET ROPES (the inner sanctum) and became my mentor.  If I had a question, he answered it.  If I didn't understand something, he explained.  And he did all this while keeping an eagle eye on all the tables under his purview.

I had a wonderful time, gained a great deal of knowledge, and a lot of respect for the position of floor boss.  Those men and women have to be constantly on guard, making sure pit bosses, dealers and customers alike are acting fairly.  They are the ones who alert security when a problem develops, and they get to be the ones to hand out the big winnings if a guest hits the jackpot.

Warren was a great guy.  When his break came, he toured me around the rest of the ship answering questions and telling me about his life on the high seas.  He explained all about the legalities of cruise gambling and shared story after story about his time on board ship.When Jonathon came to find me at cruises' end, my sides ached from laughing so much at the different people Warren had met.  You'll see some of them in Luck Be A Lady.  They are some of the secondary characters.  I dedicated the book to Warren and even sent him a copy when it was published.  Sexy romance or not, he deserved to know he was my hero, if only for that one moment in time.

Sterling Cruises may not have cruises out of Port Canaveral any longer, but the night I spent researching on one of their ships is truly a highlight of my career.  I met the perfect hero for my book, enjoyed learning how the ship was run, plus I was able to spend a romantic evening with my husband. 

Not too shabby for a trip that was a tax write-off.   *VBG* 

And yes, as we sailed back into port, Jonathon and I replayed the scene from the commercial that started it all.  Another reason to love being a romance writer!!!!

Anyway, the book comes out either late tonight or tomorrow.  I believe THIS LINK should take you to where you can buy the book.  I'll check when it goes live and redo if necessary.  Keep an eye on my FB page or website for any update.
And as an added bonus, everyone who does purchase Luck Be a Lady, send me an email at  As a special thank you, I'll send you a beautiful post card from Germany!!!

Be back on Sunday with a glimpse into how I feel about moving from city to city while on tour with Cirque du Soleil! 


CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Sunday, October 7, 2012

From Zurich To Dusseldorf

Hey everyone,

This will be my last post here in Zurich, Switzerland.  As you may know, we are leaving this beautiful country and heading off to experience another city...Dusseldorf, Germany.  

I'm so excited that we get to spend the holidays in Germany.  All the festive markets and such.  We're very much looking forward to the next three months.

As usual, it's sad to leave a place, but I have to say, Zurich hasn't been one of my favorite cities.  It has it's good points--the beautiful lake, the surrounding mountains which you can visit easily, and finally the beautiful churches.  But as a city, Zurich isn't as exciting as Paris, as fun as Amsterdam or as beautiful as Barcelona.  

And it IS expensive.  Terribly so.  So much so, that many of our people can't even go out to eat dinner at night.  I had some chicken nuggets the other day from a street vendor.  In the states they are about 50 cents apiece, give or take.  Here?  Try $2.00 per nugget!!!!  I was shocked.  But I'm not sure why I was so surprised.   I really should have known.  I mean, when a McDonald's Quarter Pounder meal goes for around $15.00 US, you KNOW things are expensive!!!

But one thing I have enjoyed are the people.  Almost everyone here was so friendly and helpful as I struggled along with my rudimentary German.   From the gal at the info desk to people on the street, for the most part everyone was happy to help out a lost or confused American.  I got to know some of the people here in the hotel, several at my favorite coffee shop and two ladies who are volunteers at one of the churches.  All were just great.

I did enjoy walking around the Zurich waterways.  The rivers and lake are beautiful, and I'll miss sitting and having a cuppa when I just want to decompress.  The view of the churches with the snowy mountains in the distance isn't something I'll soon forget.

I think of all the things I did here in Zurich, it was the churches that held the most fascination for me.

I adore visiting them, and it's always thought provoking to see the differences, not only in the different religions, but how the decorations, buildings, and art change from country to country.  Really amazing, that is.

So while me and my pocketbook are glad we're leaving, I'll feel a tug on my heartstrings when Jonathon and I take that last drive out of town.  It's always hard to leave a place you've enjoyed discovering, and Zurich is no different.  Yet just on the other side of the mountain is a new town...a new country...with brand new adventures just waiting to be explored.

And since I was born under a wandering star...I'm just the one to do it!!!!

Back on Thursday with my newest release, just in time for Halloween!  WooHoo!!!!!


CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ooops! There Goes Another Day Without Internet!!!

Hey all,

So sorry I didn't get to blog today.  The hotel's internet was down ALL DAY LONG!!!  I almost went into withdrawls.  But I had edits to look at, so I did those instead.  Plus, I did a little sightseeing later on in the afternoon.

But I'll be back with a blog on Sunday, just before I'm off for a week while I move to Dusseldorf, Germany!  Woot!!!!

Anyway, I'll leave you with this funny to smile over!


CJ England
Follow Your Dreams