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Partying, Reading, Plotting World Domination

June 21, 2010

Ever wonder at the details in a book? Most times they come from research, but sometimes they come from the personal interests of the author. We’ll be sharing our interests with you this week and how they relate to our writing. George Allwynn, author of GBLT romantic comedy, will be joining us on Wednesday, please stop by and see what this incredibly witty and talented writer has to say – I know can hardly wait!

For those of you that don’t know the setting of my book, Vampire Vacation, let me give you a brief run down. It’s a murder mystery/adventure/sexual romp between a married couple set at a resort for the undead in Alaska, above the Arctic Circle where it’s full dark most of the day in the winter.

I designed the resort in my head and will use my four years of technical drawing to draw the building and all the surrounding grounds for maps in the book. My first passion, as an adult, was not writing – but building. My husband and I flipped homes before there were TV shows about it and prior to getting sick, I was going for my contractor’s license to add to my Realtor license, property management business, and seven years of mortgage banking experience.

I know homes. Sure, there are people out there that know more than me, but not many will bring my combined love of architecture, fine arts training and hands-on know-how to the table. Picturing and planning this massive southern-style plantation, complete with a basement, occupied many an hour in MRI & CT scans or other various procedures last year.

Since I love to read, I made sure to incorporate one of my own dreams in the design: hallways filled with books. I pictured a vaulted ceiling in the main lobby that has a double staircase winding up all the way to the third floor. The landings around the open space lead off to separate wings and the walls that face the vaulted area have floor to ceiling bookcases – filled with an ancient vampire’s extensive collection of books in the seven languages she speaks.

Another thing I really enjoy is entertaining. Quaint dinners, outdoor bar-b-ques, cocktail parties, large and small fondue dinners, movie nights, birthday parties – you name it! I used to earn extra money in high school and college working (and later running) parties our community gourmet club and it’s participants held in their homes. It was a great way to make a buck and I learned a lot about entertaining and how to do it stress-free. Which requires planning – and a lot of it.

What better way to showcase good planning and party skills than to run an inn that caters to every desire a supernatural creature could think up? I’ve often joked with friends I’d have made an excellent butler. The key to superb service is anticipation. If you can predict your guests’ needs before they can, then you can prepare and plan for that request, should it arise.

Lastly, while this may not be a hobby, it is a big part of who I am: I have strong opinions and I’m not afraid to speak them. Growing up, whenever I felt things were somehow wrong, where they did not fit into the black and white ideals of my mind, but fell somewhere in the gray area I wasn’t used to exploring, I would start a rant with the words “Well, in C.J. Land it would be like…” Enough so, that I was teased by my family at inopportune moments with something like “Yes, yes, we know. In ‘C.J. Land’  it would be like… ,” before I ever even opened my mouth.

Perhaps I was destined to write my own fantasy world someday. My rules, with things that interest me. Stories with people, whom I steal dialogue for in my own life, and strangely resemble people around me – I swear just because the characters slightly resemble me and my husband that does not mean it’s us. I wish I could be all the things my heroine is. My imagination is pretty vivid and incorporating the hobbies I have in my own writing is thrilling.

When I started writing I did it to distract myself, trying to find something to do with my time. I had an idea and I went with it. I’m still amazed (and grateful) anyone wants to read it – let alone feels a connection to the characters I made up. Who woulda thunk it?

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Sharon Hamilton permalink*
    June 21, 2010 10:24 am

    CJ, I knew there was something about you…I also have “flipped” and been a Realtor. I have had friends ask me why I gave it up (sort of) to write. “I like the fantasy of my worlds better than the fantasy of the news, or ‘real’ life.” I think everyone is in a fantasy world they create, just that some call it reality, and we writers know we all make it up as we go. I’d rather listen to music that reminds me of the H/H and their quest for true love as I drive down the freeway, rather than talk radio or “news”, which really isn’t.

    • June 22, 2010 1:43 pm

      Very cool! We’ll have to compare photo albums online someday. I love the before and after pics!

      Hubby is waiting until I’m better and then has a ton of work for me – and he keeps hinting on when will we buy foreclosures, fix them up and rent them! I just don’t have the energy for it right now. Which is why writing suits me fine.

      I was channeling my hero a few weeks ago listening to George Thorogood while writing from his POV. It was great fun.

  2. June 21, 2010 11:19 am

    C.J Land…omg I laughed sooo hard.
    Well, the details came through in your story and it was so vivid.
    I could see the resort and the outside cabins and all of what was going on in

    When you create CJ world I hope to be part of it

    • June 22, 2010 1:45 pm

      Thank you! My folks would be laughing their butts off if they knew anyone wanted to be a part of my dictatorial attempts at civilization.

  3. Robert C. Nelson permalink
    June 21, 2010 2:07 pm

    C.J Land sounds like a fascinating place. Blacks, whites, and shades of gray saying nothing but: ” I’m not willing to take a stand on this. “; these shades not finding a home in your land. Is the word ” bull – shit” used a lot in C.J. Land?
    Life experience seems to be the techno-factor for you, young lady. Who needs to research what one already knows? Guts and determination are your motivating factors. I expect nothing less out of you, my friend.

    • June 22, 2010 1:48 pm

      I think “Bull-shit” is used a lot in my own home right now! I try to clean it up for the sake of the kiddies, but I call ’em like I see ’em.

  4. June 21, 2010 4:44 pm

    Aha, I knew it. “CJ Land”. That hidden part of New Jersey and Virginia. Where a certain person’s rules must be obeyed.

    Obviously, you and I are complete opposites.

    It was excellent to see how you’ve incorporated your interests into your story. That’s something I have to work on (as you’ll see tomorrow).

    • June 22, 2010 1:50 pm

      I look forward to reading it – and you need to change your WP pic to match the current new hottie one we have on the side bar. That way when your fans track you down they see the movie set you 😉

      We can’t be so opposite or you would have hated V V!

  5. June 26, 2010 2:54 am

    Hi, C.J. – here I am sat in the reality of my own making, catching up on my reading… I do so love the realities we live in, and its great when we get to see a little of someone else’s world! So, I’m all for C.J land and thanks for the glimpse inside!!


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