Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas To All!!!

Hey all,

Sorry I missed this week's posting.  Moving to Rio de Janeiro took all my time and energy.  But I promise to be back with some new pics and info about what I'm doing in this most famous of Brazilian towns.  Until then, check out the view from my hotel window.

Not too shabby, right?

It's wierd to be celebrating Christmas in such a warm climate.  Santa still wears his woolies, which just tweaks my brain.  Not like in Australia where they have him in shorts!  That made sense.  LOL 

But we're trying to get all Christmasy, even with Jonathon having to work that day.  We'll make it happen and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas as well.

Hug your loved ones.  Eat a turkey or ham for me.  Open presents.  And celebrate the reason for the season whatever that may be for you.  For me, it's the birth of Jesus.

Merry Christmas everyone!  Hugs from CJ in Brazil!!!

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Thursday, December 12, 2013

There Be Beautiful Falls Here!!!

Hey all,

I'm doing a bit better.  I made sure I rested last week and stayed down so I could be well enough to go on a vacation we've been planning for several months now.  And it was so awesome and spectacular, I had to share it on my blog. 

We went to Iguazu Falls (see the pic taken from the air) which sits on the borders of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.  It is the biggest falls of it's kind, meaning it has the largest number of falls, if I remember right, 256 different falls coming together to form this spectacular cataract.  Beyond beautiful and gianormous.  What a wonderful long weekend we had.  I'm exhausted and will probably have another episode, but damn!  It was worth it.

Iguazu Falls was something we'd been told we HAD to do.  We didn't know much about it, other than it was a HUGE waterfall, so we set up our flights and headed there as soon as we had a free weekend. Our friend Ian went with us--he's been to Brazil before but hadn't done the falls--and he was looking forward to it as well.

But none of us realized just how wonderful our weekend would be.  The falls were utterly amazing!!  Beyond anything I've ever seen before or expected.  No wonder First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt on her first sight of the magnificent falls, said, "Poor Niagara! This makes Niagara look like a kitchen faucet."

And I have to say I agree.  Niagara was impressive, but like I said, I've never seen any thing like Iguazu!!!  I'd go back in a heartbeat and do it all over again!!!  But don't take my word for it.  Check out the pics below and see why this is now one of my top 10 favorite places on the planet!!!

 We started our trip out by taking a boat trip up the river to the falls.  This was our first site of the falls on the Argentinian side.  We hit rapids, other boats wakes and then the falls itself.

 Yes...we're a little damp.  This pic was taken right after we'd gone right through the falls.  That's right...through the falls itself.  Awesome!!!!  We did it twice!!!!!

Looking down from the top of the falls on the Brazilian side.  (See the boardwalk?  Remember that for later.)  Many smaller falls put together to make one grande one.

The falls from one of the observation towers.  Now, as big as the ones you see are...that's only a quarter of the falls overall.  There are two other areas just as big, if not bigger.  Pretty amazing, right?

 Down at the base of the falls itself.  The Amount of water that comes off this main fall on the Brazilian side is tremendous!

Remember the boardwalk I mentioned earlier?  This picture was taken from the end, right in the middle of the falls.  There are falls all around me in this pic.  360 degrees, something I'd never experienced before.

View back at the main cataract and the observation tower from right smack in the middle of the falls.  It was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had.

 Ian took this great pic of Jonathon and I on the boardwalk at the base of the falls.  One of my favorites and I have it on my desktop right now!

The main set of Argentinian falls.  As you can see they are even bigger than the Brazilian set of falls.  The panoramic view is spectacular!!!

 From the lookout over the Argentinian falls looking back towards the Brazilian falls. Here you can see the copious amount of smaller cataracts in the area.

And one last picture of yet a third set of falls.  Still considered Argentinians, they seem to go on and on and on and on...

So you can see why we had such an awesome time.  It rained on us, but we didn't care.  We were already wet!  LOL  The hiking trails, the views, the critters, the birds, the boat trip...all of those were just another part of what made Iguazu Falls one of the best adventures I've ever experienced!!!

Until next week!


CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Thursday, November 28, 2013

What Are You Thankful For?

Hey all,

Since it's Thanksgiving for all us Americans, I thought I'd do a blog about this very special holiday.  It's kind of odd being away from the US on this holiday.  It's not like Easter or Christmas.  No one but us Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, so it goes by without any fanfare.

Luckily, this year the kitchen at Cirque is having their special Curitiba city dinner on Thanksgiving day, so they are doing it up right.  Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing.  Everything!  I'm so excited.  Haven't had a good meal for that holiday in FOREVER.  I'm so hoping we have pumpkin pie!!!

But we've always celebrated the holiday--no matter what country we were in.  In Asia, it wasn't so easy.  Finding a turkey that cost less than the national debt was almost impossible.  But we found a way to have our Thanksgiving dinner.  One year, we went to a casino in Macau--the MGM--and had an awesome meal.  Everything you can imagine--even cranberry sauce.  LOVED it.

Another year, we actually found a small turkey.  But while we had the main dish, some of the sides weren't so easy.  Have you ever tried to find cranberry sauce in Singapore?  How about green bean casserole in Germany?  And since brown sugar is almost impossible to find in many countries, don't even think about candied yams!!!!

But we managed.  I didn't get cranberry sauce, but we substituted a Malaysian sweet sauce instead.  For a green bean casserole, I found a pinkish-blue bean, paid an ungodly amount for cream of mushroom soup, grabbed a few onions and voilà!!!!  For candied yams...well, we couldn't go the brown sugar route, so we did the marshmallow recipe instead. CAN make it happen!!!

And I'm very thankful for each and every one of those adventures!

Here in Brazil, they obviously don't have Thanksgiving, yet this year we are winding up celebrating three times.  While we were on the coast this last weekend (check the blog next week for that fun) some Cirque friends had a special dinner--Thanksgiving a little early--with all the trimmings.  And it was delicious!  Then today, we'll have the one in the Cirque kitchen.  AND next Monday, some other friends of ours are having a get together potluck.  They'll do the turkey, the guests will bring everything else.

So, as you can see, while we've had famine in the past with our Thanksgiving meals, this year we are going to FEAST!!!!  Yum, yum, yum!!!

And I'm very thankful for every one!!!

So what are you thankful for?  What is it about this holiday that makes you smile?  Do you go into raptures over the food?  Seeing your family?  Watching football?

And let's not leave out the rest of you who live somewhere other than the US of A.  You have to be thankful for something.  Tell us what it is!!!

And to make it even more fun--everyone who comments will get a postcard from beautiful Brazil AND be entered in a drawing to win one of my ebooks!  Your choice!!!!

So make your comment...and don't forget to send an email to with your snail mail so I can get your postcard out to you!  You have until next Wednesday to make your comment.  I'll announce the winner on next Thursday's blog.

I look forward to hearing what you are all thankful for.  And have a wonderful, blessed holiday filled with good food, loving family and of course (if you like it) FOOTBALL!!!  WooHoo!!!!

And one last thing...don't forget to send your thoughts, prayers and good wishes to all our troops overseas who can't come home for Thanksgiving.  They are the ones we all should be thankful for!!!!

Hugs to all of you!

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I'm Off To Get Wet!!!

Hey all,

Sorry this is a bit late.  Couldn't get the blog to publish for the life of me.  The internet here at our hotel in Curitiba is the worst yet, so I have to do what I can, when I can.

Anyway, I'm off for a three day weekend with my sweet baboo--and about ten of our closest friends.  *grin*  We're going diving!!!

As some of you may remember, my darling Jonathon is a dive instructor, and he's offered his services at a really discounted price to our fellow Cirque members.  And whenever we have a double-dark (meaning the show is closed for two days) we try and put together a trip to the beach so we can get some instruction done.

So we're headed to Bombinhas, in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil.  It's touted to be one of the best places to dive on this side of South America so we're looking forward to it.  Either way, just getting out of town for awhile is always fun.

I don't have any diving stories--at least not ready for publication.  (I do have one I did years ago, but I'm in the process of reworking it and expanding the story.)  So I don't have a really good segue into one of my books.  But we are going out on a dive boat and I DO have a story about a ship--a gambling cruise ship--so let's take a look at one of my books set in the great state of Florida.  Let me tell you...I LOVED doing the research for this story!!! 

An unusual inheritance brings with it a family curse, but also a chance at everlasting love.

When Lara Kincade inherits a gambling boat from her long lost uncle, she thinks her luck has changed. And since Halloween is just around the corner, she plans a costume party cruise to celebrate her good fortune.

Justin Savage has another idea. He and his crewmates have been stuck on The Lucky Lady for nearly a century, destined to sail the ocean until someone can break the witch’s curse. The last thing he needs is some girl planning parties on his ship.

It's a Halloween to remember when passion flares between this stubborn couple. And only by putting their cards on the table, will either of them have a chance of winning at love!


“I am the last Kincade, Justin. There are no more Kincade sons left for you to haunt.”
There was a flicker of something in his eyes, but it was quickly gone. “You are still a Kincade. Your family stole my life, my ship and the lives of innocents. I can never forgive that.”
Her chin went up. “Did it ever occur to you I’m an innocent, too? The same as Lottie or Charlie. How is what you’re doing anything different from what Bridget did?”
Justin cursed loudly. “I am nothing like that witch. My revenge is just. I only take back what was taken from me.”
I didn’t take anything from you.”
“You play at words, Lara Kincade. But your name tells me what I need to know. You are my enemy.”
Her bottom lip trembled—he could see it in the moonlight. Some unknown emotion stirred, but a century of hate squashed it.
“I won’t make it easy for you like my uncle did,” she finally murmured softly. “And I’m not going anywhere. I will make this ship beautiful again. With your help or without it.”
He had to admire her grit. “It will be without.  And I will do everything in my power to sabotage your efforts.”
Anger and sadness warred in her chocolate eyes. “Then I guess it’s war.” She held out her hand to him. “I won’t wish you luck.”
Automatically, he took her hand, noting while it was small and feminine, it was also callused and strong. Without thinking, he bent and pressed a kiss to the back of it. “I don’t need luck.”
Her gasp made him go very still. Abruptly, he realized what he had done. Holding onto her, he looked closely into her face.  Lara’s eyes had dilated in shocked arousal, and awareness hit him like a sledgehammer.
He wasn’t the only one experiencing desire. She wanted him, too.
When her lip trembled again, Justin gave up worrying about the curse.  He forgot about the ship and the knowledge she was his enemy.  Standing before him was a beautiful, sexy woman, and he needed her desperately… if only to see if her lips were as soft as they looked to be. Why wait any longer?
Without any more hesitation, he pulled her against him and bent his head. He slanted his mouth over hers with a voraciousness that made her gasp. Justin took immediate advantage of it, thrusting his tongue between her lips to taste the sweetness he knew was within.
A groan rumbled up from his chest. He’d been right. She tasted of woman and sex and desire. Flavors he’d almost forgotten. Holding her tighter, he explored her secrets, instinctively wanting to know her in every way possible.
When she protested, he nipped at her lower lip, before starting all over again, slower this time, intent on savoring the delicious flavor of her mouth.
Lara had never before felt such an intense need from a man.  She was surrounded by him, by his heat, by his desire.  She trembled once and then surrendered, letting the waves of passion roll over her.   When his tongue speared into her mouth, it was so forceful she struggled, but then he immediately gentled, soothing her as he explored her farther.
Her body began to respond.  Softening in his arms as he pulled her closer to him.  She kissed him back, instinctively using her own tongue to tease and torment.  When he gave a growl of hunger, a thrill of delight ran through her. 
As he continued kissing her, the hard line of his erection pressed against her stomach.  The sudden wetness between her thighs told her she wanted him as much as he wanted her.  Without thinking, she rubbed herself against him, enjoying the feel of the powerful body against hers.
Justin broke out in a sweat at the innocent movement.  His body clenched with the need to take Lara right where they stood.  His hand threaded through her hair and pulled her head back so he could feast on the naked flesh of her throat.  The other hand moved to cup one breast.
He groaned, deciding right then and there these new fashions weren’t so bad.  At least he didn’t have to dig through a corset to find the supple mound.  He squeezed gently, glorying in the softness of her.
“Beautiful,” he whispered.
The single word jerked Lara out of the sensual fog she was in.  What was she doing?  Making out on the deck of a ship in plain view of God and everyone?  Not only that, she was in a lip lock with a ghost!  One who despised her no less.
She struggled against him. “Let me go!” 
He only held her tighter. “No,” he muttered hoarsely.  “Not yet.”
His need pulled at her, but she forced herself to be strong.  She turned her head away and pushed at his chest.  “NO!”
Blinking, he frowned.  Then understanding filled his eyes, and he pushed her away with an oath.  Apparently, he too finally realized what they were doing.
“Your woman’s wiles will not work on me this time, Kincade!” he shouted at her.
Lara’s mouth dropped open.  “I didn’t start this, you jerk!  You kissed me.”
Justin knew she was right, and that made him angrier.  Striking out at her, he gritted, “You have no shame.  You would do anything to get your way, just like she did.”
 She said a very unladylike swearword and walking forward, poked him in the chest.  “You don’t know anything about me.  I was willing to help you.  To try and break this horrible curse you are under.  But now?  I hope you rot on this boat.  I’ll save my pity for the others.”
“None of us need your pity!  Just leave my ship.  It will be best for all of us.”  He glared down at her, as angry at himself for wanting her as he was at her for being who she was.  “I don’t want anything to do with a Kincade!”
Putting her hands on her hips, she smirked up at him.  “You didn’t say that a minute ago.”
Anger and embarrassment warred inside of him.  “That meant nothing.  I haven’t touched a woman in a century.  I would have felt the same for a two-dollar whore!”  Reaching out, he ran a long finger down her soft cheek.  “In fact, I think the last whore I had kissed better!”
All the color leached out of Lara’s cheeks.  She stared at him, pain filling her eyes.  He thought she might cry, and he searched for the satisfaction it would give him, but for some reason it eluded him.  Instead, all he felt was shame.  He opened his mouth to apologize, but her words stopped him.
“You really are a bastard,” she whispered.  “Maybe you are getting just what you deserved.”  Then her eyes flashed as she stepped up and punched him hard in the stomach.
He went to his knees in surprise, leaving her standing over the top of him. 
            “There.”  She gave a final sniff.  “Now a woman has really touched you!”  Then turning, she ran back inside the salon.

 **end of excerpt**

I hope you enjoyed this brief look at one of my favorite stories.  Want to read more?  Then go pick up a copy HERE.  Send me a copy of your receipt (, and I'll send you something to say Thank You!!!

And PS....Don't forget to sign up for my upcoming FREE READ.  The days are counting down!  Fun and games to be had for everyone!!!  WooHoo!!!

Hugs until Thursday!!!  

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Thursday, November 21, 2013

There's No Place Like Home...Or Is There?

How do you do it?  Don't you miss having a home of your own?  How can you live in a simple hotel room month after month after month? 

Hey all,

I've been asked these questions by quite a few of my readers over the last few years.  They all want to understand how I can enjoy moving around the way I do.

Some are homebodies--people who are happiest just doing their thing at home and never needing to do much traveling.  Others are people who enjoy a good vacation--love to take those two weeks a year and go adventuring.  But they can't imagine being on the road every day, all the time.

So just how can I do it?  How can I be okay with selling our home, putting our stuff in storage and going out to travel the world?  So many people asked, I decided to take this blog and let everyone know just how it's done.  And it's simple really.  I just do one special thing.

I make a home wherever I go.

For me, my home consists of two things.  Two things that are imperative to my well being.  

First, of course, is Jonathon.  He's the center of my world--the most important thing on the planet--and the reason I make a home in the first place.  So if I have him with me, I have my home.  And if I had nothing else, he would be enough.

But, I have to admit, there is another thing that helps me feel like I'm home.  And that changes as we travel.  My secret...?

I surround myself with memories.

Everywhere we go...each place we've lived or traveled to, we make what we call memories.  Sometimes I take pictures of those memories--like a photograph of a beautiful park or majestic castle.  Other times I purchase something to remind me, like a vase, clock or ceramic artwork.  And I keep them all close by, so those very memories are what help me make a home for Jonathon and I.  

Some people may call it stuff, and I guess in a way it is, but it's important stuff.  Each time we walk in the door, we are surrounded by things that show us who we are and make us smile.  Each hotel room, no matter how it's arranged or what the view is, we can call home because we've made it so.

I've taken a few pics of different hotel rooms and how I've decorated them over the years.  Let me show you how to make any place you hang your hat a home you'll enjoy.


This was our hotel room in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  It had a wonderful view, though all we could see was more of the city.   But the room was comfortable, and that's all we can ask for.  Once I added my own touches, we were once again...home.

It's always easier when I have a kitchen.  Not only can I cook better, I love being able to set it up like I would at home.  As you can see below in the apartment we have here in Curitiba, Brazil, I have everything I need to do what I want to do.

Even when we have just a single room, I can make it a home.  I put up pictures, our hanging mementos, add a colorful duvet and pillow cases, and instantly it feels like home.

 In Antwerpen, Belgium, we had one of the prettiest views.  The green of the parks close by and some lovely sunsets.  Just a single room, but add those special touches we'd picked up in Paris and Barcelona and our new home was complete. 

Even the most boring of hotel rooms can be made beautiful and homey with the right memories.  In Hamburg, Germany I kept some precious memories out like my German pyramid, our crystal star and Jonathon's light up diorama.

Some memories don't have to be permanent.  I drank beers all the way through Amsterdam, the Netherlands, so we wanted to remember it.  So I added the bottles to my tulips, and windmills and made a totally different kind of display.

 One of the hardest times to be away from home is during the holidays.  Not being with my kids is difficult enough, but I've got years of Christmas memories that I love putting up every year.  But knowing how important those things are, I make sure I do it on tour.  Here in Berlin, Germany we shared an apartment with our friend Ian.  It was awesome because I had a kitchen where I could make cookies and Christmas dinner.   The decorations may not have covered the walls like they would in my permanent home, but they still made me smile and say Ho, Ho, Ho!

And finally...  The easiest way to make a hotel room your own is to make it comfortable.  And if that means moving the furniture around, you do it.  I've never kept the hotel room as we found it.  I make sure each room (if we have more than one) is arranged so it best suits our needs.  In Brasilia, Brazil, I moved the furniture so the kitchen and living room were separated.  The bedroom was already separated by a wardrobe, so it was like having a real apartment.

So there you have it.  Just a few ways I make each place we stay in like a home.  Jonathon has his set up and tear down at the circus and I have mine.  And as I sit here looking around at the place I'm living in right now, I can honestly say...

There is no place like home!!!!

Hugs to all,

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Sunday, November 17, 2013

To Free Read or Not To Free Read Plus Some Fun!!!

Hey all,

As promised, today I've got some news about my FREE READ blog.  It's been inactive for awhile, with all the other things on my plate, and I've regretted that, so I've decided to bring it back online.  

So, starting on December 1st, I'll be starting up my FREE READ blog with a story I began in my newsletter, but never got to finish.  So, I'll finish it there.

So, stay tuned as we meet Eran and Michelle, a heavenly angel and a very rare female Nephilim he protects as he gets her ready for the battle against evil.  But Eran is more than Michelle's trainer.  Even warrior angels can fall in love.

But will their love survive the evil that is thrown their way?  Will Asmodeous, the dark demon who wants Michelle for himself, be able to tempt her away from the Lord and the angel who completes her?   Find out in our newest FREE READ blog entry, The Nephilim Narratives: Love's Guardian.   

You can check it out, coming December 1st, 2013 at my FREE READ BLOG...


Now, also as promised, here is a short excerpt from my newest WIP.  This is the story I'm writing for the November NaNoWriMo challenge, something I try and do every year for fun.   Since last year was our first year moving around with Cirque, I wasn't able to do a story in 2012, so I was bound and determined to do one this year.   

Now this is unedited and only a first draft, and the cover is just for show, so bear with any mistakes that may be there.  

This is the second book in The Wandering Star Series, and it takes place in the the majestic Aare Gorge Park in the beautiful county of Switzerland.  I hope you enjoy this quick sneak peek from...

The Dragon and the Damsel

“Penny for your thoughts?”
Sina looked up from her sketchpad.  As usual, Taz had appeared out of nowhere, standing in front of the bench, just inside The Dragon’s Throat, where she now sat.  Suddenly she realized she hadn’t drawn a thing in several minutes.  So much for being a great artist.
Sighing, she closed the pad and tucked it away in her bag.  “I’m not sure they’re worth that much.”
“Of course they are,” he said quietly.  “To me your thoughts are precious.”
Her throat tightened.  “You always say the right thing.”
He snorted in disbelief.  “If that were true, you would be in my arms, not sitting alone on that bench.  Yet I can’t seem to find the words to make you want more.”
Shock froze her in her seat.  He actually thought that?  That she was afraid to take the next step?  She shook her head.  “But I’m not the one who’s holding back,” she blurted out unthinkingly.  “You are.”
Taz stared at her, his heart in his throat.  Could it be?  All this time had they been speaking at cross-purposes?  He’d been so careful not to move too fast—to overwhelm her with his need, but perhaps he’d been too much so. Did she actually want him as much as he wanted her?
Unable to help himself, he took a step closer.  “Is that what you really think, Sina?”  He loved the sound of her name on his lips.  It had its own melody—like the sound of the smallest waterfall in the gorge—sweet music with such unseen strength.  “Is what I feel for you so hidden?  Can’t you understand?  I wish to know you.  All of you.  And in all ways.”
Her eyes widened.  “I…”
Perhaps it was time to—as the Americans said—put his cards on the table.  Putting his finger under her chin, he lifted it gently.  “Do you remember the day I saved your life?”
“Of…of course I do,” she whispered.  “Why?”
“Do you remember I asked a boon of you, little dreamer?  Will you give it to me now? 
“A…a b-boon?”
Taz smiled.  She was so lovely, those wide eyes gazing up at him.  A little confused, a little aroused.  “Yes.  Remember?  A single boon for saving your life.”
“A boon for saving my life.”  Memory chased across her face.  “Yes.  I remember.  You s-said you’d ask for one someday.”
“And today,” he murmured as he brushed his lips over her cheeks, one at a time, “is the day.”
He felt her tremble.  “W-What sort of boon?” 
She wasn’t stupid, this one.  She might not know she was bargaining with a dragon, but instinctively, she sensed it.  He chuckled at the wariness in her voice. “Nothing so frightening.  Just something I think would give both of us pleasure.”
“Like…?”  She drew the word out almost teasingly.
“A kiss,” he answered, pulling her nearer.  “One simple kiss.”
“A kiss.”  Repeating the words, she unconsciously snuggled closer, making him groan under his breath.  Taz had a feeling this single kiss would be anything but simple.
 “I-I think I could manage a kiss for the man who saved me.”  She glanced up at him from under her eyelashes.  “And who’s shown me the wonders of his world.”
Heat curled in his belly.  He had the sudden urge to show her more.  To show her everything.  “Sina
“But just one,” she interrupted, her fingers touching his cheek.  “For the boon.”
“Only one.”  His lips traced her forehead as he smiled in anticipation.  The nights had been long since they’d first met, and this kiss would be the first step to get into Sina’s warm bed.  “A boon for your savior. A kiss for both of us to enjoy.”  And with a groan he brought his mouth down on hers.
It was all fire and heat and surprise.  It exploded up out of them both without warning, shocking Taz and making him wish fleetingly he’d not promised to stop at one kiss. 
Then he stopped thinking at all.
Fantasy and reality mixed and became one, and in that single kiss Taz recognized all he’d been missing for a lifetime.  Passion, desire, tenderness, longing—a potent mix of emotions he’d never experienced nor had ever expected to.  In a single heartbeat all the loneliness of his past disappeared.  She was his future.  She was his everything.  She was all he’d wanted but had begun to believe he couldn’t have.
Growling in soft wonder, he knew in that instant his life had just changed.  Muttering his astonishment into Sina’s mouth, he kissed her deeply, his tongue teasing her lips open and then delving inside to find the sweetness he already knew was there.  Waiting for him.
He shuddered.  He, the strongest of his kind was weakened, just by one woman’s kiss.  Yet a longer taste of her, and the faintness disappeared.  Instead, he was reborn.  Just the delicious touch of Sina’s lips made him think of dancing in the moonlight—listening to the music of the trees in the wind.  It was life and magick, creation and joy.  It was everything he’d ever hoped for.  Everything he’d ever wanted.  Nothing in his dreams or his imaginings could have prepared him.  And in that single kiss…that one amazing mingling of breath, he knew.
Schatzi,” he whispered.
       He’d found the woman he’d been searching for.

***end of sneak peak***

Well, I hope you enjoyed this short excerpt!  Doing NaNoWriMo is fun, but it isn't easy, especially with my lifestyle.  But it's worth it when I hear from you all that you've enjoyed my work.  *hint / grin*

I'll be back on Thursday with another fun installment.  Not sure about what, but I hope it will keep you reading!

Hugs to all,

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Is it Stylin' or Stupid?

Hey all,

I often come upon subjects for this blog without even looking.  I'd say it's a gift, but in actuality it's just luck.  I find see something, my imagination kicks in and before I know it, another blog is written.

That's what happened the other day when I was walking back from the store.  And it only cost me some skin and a little bit of self respect.

Now I've been all over the world and I've seen some pretty crazy things, but I have to say some of the craziest have included clothing trends...what people take as style.  I tell you there has been plenty of times I wanted to make a citizen's arrest and call the fashion police for a pick up!

Those fashion faux pas have included...

1.  Clothing that was way too tight for any man to wear.  In fact, I've wondered if the guys wearing those tight jeans will ever have children. (everyone has seen this horrifying pic!)
2. Skirts that would have been put to better use as placemats..or napkins.
3.  Bathing Suits that shouldn't be.  (I've done entire blogs about those!)
4.  Color combinations that made my eyes bleed.  And the scariest thing about some of those was they were designer stores.  That meant people were paying big bucks to look like total idiots.
5.  And lastly...footwear.  Some of it is beyond ugly and many styles are downright dangerous.  And that's what this blog is about...sort of.

Now, I'm a more of a barefoot type of gal and when I HAVE to wear shoes, it's usually flats. And  after over a year in Europe with all it's cobble-stoned streets and even worse, I figured I had seen and walked on it all.

Well, less than a week in Brazil and I realized just how wrong I was.  I didn't expect to have trouble walking, even on the less than stellar sidewalks they have here.  Flats remember?  But (see the capitals here) OH, MY GOD, forget cobblestones... Hello, roads and walkways made of cobble boulders!  And don't even get me started about the so called brick and tile work they use on the sidewalks.  They are death traps disguised as art.

What really gets me are the women down here.  I can't decide if they're brave or simply foolish.  Even with some of the absolutely worst walkways in Christendom, they still wear the tallest high heels they can find.

Is it because they have to be stylin'?  No matter what the cost?  Do they even know they are putting their lives in danger?  How many broken ankles will it take before they realize how silly they are?

Except here in Curitiba where, I have to say, the women have a lot more smarts than in other cities.  Most of them, and I mean a good ninety percent wear flats of some kind.  But unfortunately it doesn't always work.  I can't tell you how many people I've seen trip and sometimes (me included) fall on their face.

So much for stylin.

I've decided that in Curitiba the sidewalks are scary they're so dangerous.  A simple ten minute walk to the grocery store, and I burn more calories hopping over chunks of broken stone and sidestepping holes than I do during an hour's aerobic workout!  Whew!  And I'm not even going to talk about dragging a shopping cart and bag home over all the obstructions.  You know it's bad when you choose a store that's farther away, even though you're walking because the sidewalk is in better shape!!!!

Part of the reason for this are the trees planted along the roads.  The roots have a life of their own, pushing up and through the tiles and stonework.  Pretty, but Hell on sidewalks.   Yet while the trees have created one problem, we humans created another.

All in the of name of art.

That's right.  The sidewalks here are actually beautiful--what's left of them.  They are made of tiles and stone pictures all carefully and intricately put together to make art.  Unlike the boring but wonderfully smooth concrete walkways in most cities of the United States, a lot of sidewalks down here are made of thousands upon thousands of individual tile or stone.  Which leaves plenty of room for roots to push through, slow and steady sinkage of a section or even worse, huge holes created by weather or sudden shifts in the dirt below. 

Well, they do say that art can be dangerous!  But who would have thought they actually meant that physically?

And so even flat shoes, sandals or sneakers aren't much help when you're tripping over dislodged stones or falling face first in a hole the size of China.  Maybe that's why some of them wear four inch and higher heels.  They can use them to climb out!!!

So, Curitiba, I love the idea of the artsy-fartsy stonework, but maybe next time you can keep in on a wall or a ceiling.  Anywhere I won't be walking!

Anyway, I'll be back on Sunday with some news about my Free Read Blog, plus an excerpt from the brand new fantasy story I'm writing for NaNoWriMo!!!

Have an awesome rest of your week!


CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Sunday, November 10, 2013

It's More Than a Writing Career

Hey all,

I've decided to start blogging again on Sundays (she said hopefully) but it won't be rants or travelogs, but a little bit of promotion or even letting you all know what's going on with my writing career.  

It's been a tough last few years, between health scares and all the traveling we've done, so I've had to reevaluate (constantly) and try and find an actual plan that works.

I'm pretty much still looking.  LOL

Anyway, what I've come up with for the Sunday blog is doing some excerpts from past work, plus giving you all a free looksee of upcoming books I have in queue.  And if I have news about what's going on with my writing, I'll share that as well.

So, to start it off, I thought I'd share an excerpt from one of my favorite fantasy books.  I love this story and actually wrote it within a couple of weeks, it flowed so well.  Someday I may even revisit this world and write a couple more stories.

So, for those of you who like sci-fi fantasy, big, buff warriors, psychic powers and romance, you'll really enjoy More Than a Warrior!


While Prince Jhoral, the heir to the Farsaean throne, leader of the Skyhawlk Flyers, visits neighboring Kylia, he's invited to watch a special Empathic Melding Ceremony. He attends, as a courtesy, even though he doesn't believe in it. But his whole world is turned upside down when stubborn, stunning Lanai chooses him to be her receptor. Their minds meld together in exquisite tenderness and passion and centuries of tradition are shattered in an instant.

Lanai has waited her whole life for the one person to complete her. But, unlike other empaths, she has always wanted more than to be a vessel for her bondmate. Adventure, excitement...even love. However, her dreams couldn't have prepared her for the shock of mating with a dark warrior prince whose life is filled with so much violence, so much war.

Despite the obstacles, the two are determined to stay together. Will the melding of their minds bring their peoples to the brink of war, or will they together teach both countries and themselves, the power of true love?

Jhoral wasn’t really listening.  His whole focus was on the empath that moved shakily around the small circle of waiting receptors.  She was a beautiful woman, with high cheekbones, fine skin and a wide intelligent brow, but her face was haunted by fear. Her pink lips trembled and a worry line appeared between her eyes, the color of which he was still unsure.  Green, blue, gold...every time he thought he had it figured out, they would change again. 
It was obvious the search was taking a lot from her.  Each time she touched one of the women, she strained, as if trying to force a melding.  When it wouldn’t work, she’d flinch and her arms would drop.  Her shoulders would droop in exhaustion, but after a moment she’d take a deep breath and move on to the next one.  It was unbearable watching her.  Jhoral wanted to push everyone aside and find the person she needed.  His chest ached with painful sensation and he’d never felt so helpless.  This was one time his strength on the battlefield would do no good.
“What will happen if she doesn’t find one?”  Dyas asked the question everyone was thinking.  “Will she die?”
“She can’t die!”  In spite himself, Jhoral’s voice rose.  He immediately cleared his throat.  “I mean...she will have another chance, won’t she?”
Mistress Aleris nodded, but her face was no longer serene.  “It could be her perfect mind-mate isn’t in the circle.  It is difficult to believe, but there may be other receptors out there we missed.”
“How do you find the receptors?”  Jhoral kept his eyes on Lanai as she touched yet another receptor.  A single tear appeared on her cheek and he wanted to howl out his own frustration.  He wanted to leap down into the room and rip her away from all that was hurting her.  He wanted to protect her.
“They come to us to be examined.  It is voluntary, so I suppose it’s possible this empath’s perfect match has not yet been found.  But those who can be receptors are usually glad to be tested.  Having an empath increases status in our society.  Everyone wants one.”
“You make it sound like the latest fashion or newest toy,” Jhoral growled, forgetting diplomacy in his disgust.  “Surely, she is more than that.”
“Of course, Your Highness,” Mistress Aleris said quietly, as if sensing his annoyance.  She glanced apologetically at the other royals.  “The empaths are an important part of our people.”
“She’s made it around the circle again,” Dyas interrupted with a sigh.  “I guess that’s it then.  No mind-mate here.”
Jhoral flinched at his friend’s matter-of-fact tone.  “There must be more we can do.”
Mistress Aleris shook her head.  “No.  It is the first time such a thing has happened, but if she hasn’t found her mate by now, she is not here.”  The mentor walked over to the railing and signaled the two gray-robed women standing off to the side.  “She will be returned to the training house until other receptors are found.”
Jhoral watched, his stomach in knots as the empath was taken by the arms to be led out.  He badly wanted to leap over the railing and go to her.  To gather her in his arms and give her comfort.  It took everything he had in him to just sit and watch.  It didn’t make sense.  By the gods, he didn’t even know her.  But the feeling was so strong he could barely contain himself.
 She was so bent over from despair she stumbled, leaning heavily on the helpers for support.  But, just as she got to the door, she gave a whimpering cry and jerked away from the women.  The colorful rainbow of energy surrounded her once more as she turned and raced back to the line of receptors.
Jhoral found himself on his feet as she threw her arms around the closest receptor and tried to find a meld.  Her courage and strength of will made him want to cheer her on.  The empath’s stubbornness may be abhorrent to the Kylians, but to Jhoral it was a most attractive trait.  His people equated persistence with strength, and if he was any judge, Lanai was not one to give up easily.  He prayed to the moon gods she would find the mate she was seeking.
Beside him, Mistress Aleris sighed.  “I thought she might be difficult.  Lanai never knows when to give up.”
“Farsaeans find such strength admirable.”
“Admirable, perhaps,” the older woman agreed.  “But unfortunately, this time it is unfeasible.  Her receptor is not here.”
That fact didn’t seem to deter Lanai.  She jerked away from the hands that tried to restrain her, moving to yet another receptor to try again.  Jhoral’s heart pounded in empathy, and thought it ironic since he still wasn’t sure he believed in the emotion.  The perfectly ordered ceremony dissolved into a wrestling match as the two gray robed women tried to force the smaller empath to leave.  Jhoral watched as she fought them, stumbling from woman to woman, tears coursing down her face.  His whole body tensed as if it were him fighting down there in the cold, white room.
“They must catch her.”  The mentor spoke softly, her voice gritty with sadness.  “She will kill herself if she continues this way.
Suddenly terrified she might do just that, Jhoral leaned over the railing.  His hands clenched at the barrier so hard they hurt.  “Come on, little one,” he whispered to himself.  “You can do it.  Don’t give up, Lanai.”
The empath went abruptly still.  Complete silence filled the room as everyone froze with her.  She whirled around, jerking her head up, and those ever-changing eyes met Jhoral’s.  He felt the impact of her gaze like a punch in the stomach, almost reeling back from the power of it.  His fingers tightened on the balustrade, his fingernails leaving marks in the soft wood.  His mind felt like a mighty wind was ripping it open.  The astonishment of sharing his head with another swept through him and he groaned in shock and surprise.  He didn’t even notice Dyas leap to his feet.  He wasn’t aware of the appalled look on Mistress Aleris’ face.  All he could see...all he could focus on was the woman who held him in her sway.
Her eyes lit up so bright he thought he would be blinded.  Her smile reached out to him. Pushing away from the two women that held her, she staggered toward him, her arms outstretched.
“Finally...” Her sobbing mind-voice penetrated his thoughts.  “Finally, I’ve found you.”

***end of excerpt***


I hope you enjoyed this brief look at one of my favorite books.  Decide to purchase it?  Send me a copy of your receipt and I'll send you something special as a thank you!

Until next Thursday,


CJ England

Follow Your Dreams