Tag Archives: CJ West

Guest Post by CJ West: His 10 Chocolate Guilty Pleasures

And we’re back!  This past Tuesday, I had thriller writer, CJ West over talking about his new short, Thugbook!  Today, CJ’s back at the Happiness Project reminiscing about his 10 untouchable guilty pleasures, and they all have to do with chocolate!  You see, CJ is working out for his upcoming debut on MANday, but a guy can be guilty once in awhile.  Check out his faves!

My Ten Chocolate Indulgences

I’ve been a chocoholic since birth so my ten indulgences had to be chocolate flavored. For those of you who follow me, you know I’m working out hard to get ready for the MANday wager I’ve got going on with Jillian Dodd. We have a bet that I can get in good enough shape to show off my abs on her blog in July.

Needless to say, I’m not eating a lot of chocolate right now. At least I can share my love in pictures. Drool with me.

#1 Chocolate Ice Cream

Before MANday, chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips and chocolate sauce was a regular treat. No special occasion required. Just open the freezer and there it is waiting for you to dig in.  Everyone has a little stress, right?

#2 Hershey’s Special Dark

At some point in my chocolate loving life, I moved on from milk chocolate to dark chocolate and I never looked back. Hershey’s makes this giant bar that is way too much for one person to eat in one sitting, but when you sit in front of the computer for hours typing away, it is quite possible to eat the entire bar without realizing.

#3 Nestle’s Toll House Morsels

Once upon a time I always had a bag of these in the house, not the little bag, but the giant bag. Okay, I admit it, I usually had two or three. They are great kept in the freezer. They don’t stick to your hands that way. You can carry them around for 5 minutes or so before they are all gone. If chocolate was a vegetable, there would be no need to stock other foods.

When these are in the house I eat way too many so I had to stop stocking them.

#4 Lindt Dark Chocolate Truffles

I discovered these about two years ago. Delicious. They melt in your mouth the way harder chocolates can’t. A great indulgence, but not a diet staple.

#5 Entenmann’s Chocolate Donuts

I did a horrible thing to my ex-wife. I introduced her to Entenmann’s Chocolate Donuts for breakfast back when I got tons of exercise and was young enough to burn off the extra calories. DO NOT start eating these for breakfast. They are like crack. Not as bad for you, but they are every bit as hard to give up. Just say no!

#6 Toll House Cookie Dough

In my mind there isn’t another kind of cookie. I judged a baking contest last year and tasted some great cookies. The winner was an amazing combination of nuts and cranberries and dark chocolate. Still, if it was up to me, I’d pick a basic Toll House Cookie any time. And before you can get to the cookie, you have to eat some dough. Could you really bake cookies without eating at least one spoonful?

#7 Toll House Cookies

Yes, I do bake some of that dough! In my younger days we didn’t get sweets unless we baked them ourselves. I can remember my brother and I, we were teens, eating an entire batch before they cooled!

#8 Devil Dogs

One of the few store bought treats we got as kids. Mom got them from the thrift store and froze them so they wouldn’t go bad (like that would happen).  We never waited for them to thaw before eating them and to this day I prefer them frozen. If you live in a place where they don’t have these, get in your car now.

#9 Peanut Butter squares

In tenth grade a friend’s mother gave me a recipe to make these. They are similar to a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup minus the preservatives and salt. To this day I can recite the recipe and whip them together in 15 minutes.  If there was a number 11 on this list, it would be a peanut butter square sundae with chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream. Pure Heaven!

#10 Brownie Sundae

My ideal dessert wouldn’t look exactly like this one, but I chose the image because the brownies have chocolate chips! A must when you make brownies. I’d switch to chocolate ice cream and add a generous layer of whipped cream. Ahh.

Thanks for joining me in this virtual orgasm of chocolate goodness!

Thanks CJ for sharing your guilty pleasure list with us!  I had no idea what loving chocolate was like as I only eat 1-10 of those.  😉

Your turn!  What guilty pleasures sneak their way into YOUR cupboards?


Author Interview with CJ West: Why He Might Be Dexter Morgan’s Best Friend

Welcome to the Kickoff of June’s Featured Writer posts!  Every Tuesday I’ll be hosting a different author where they gush the gory details on writing and life.

CJ West

It’s a double dose of CJ West this week, whom many of you may know from the twitter #MANday challenge that’s been tweeting around.  CJ recently released his new digital short, Thugbook; his seventh publication.  He writes thrillers, and his blog is captioned Suspense.  Creativity.  Action.  You can also find him at his website or doing author interviews on his Blog Talk Radio Show.  But today, he’s here with us, answering  my questions about the writing life.  And, he’ll back this Friday, sharing his guilty pleasures right here on The Happiness Project!

CJ Answers Questions About CJ:

JW:  You have led a diverse pathway of careers.  You wrote your first book while still in school, pursued your love of golf and considered going pro, then got your degree in Business Management and made a living helping companies with computer networking, and then went back to writing.  What has each of these roles taught you about life?

CJW: In each of these things I was following a passion and I have been very fortunate thus far to work at things I love doing. My greatest lesson learned is to seek good advice. I grew up in an environment that highly valued independence. My life’s journey would have been vastly different if I had embraced the advice of knowledgeable people early in my life. I have worked very hard at each of my passions and with sound advice I could have achieved much more with all that effort.

JW:  As a novice writer with a time-sucking day job, I’m always curious know to how other writers did it: the switch to writing full time.  What was the game changing moment where you decided to focus on writing, and what struggles along the journey did you have to overcome?

CJW:  The big moment for me was when Sin & Vengeance was optioned for film. The offer came out of the blue and when it did, I began to believe I could entertain readers well enough to make a living writing books. The writing life for me is still a constant struggle. I don’t believe I’ve made it yet, but I have had the great pleasure of entertaining many readers and I’m thankful that I wake up and write every day.

JW:  You host a Blog Talk Radio show called The Thriller-30, what authors have been the most inspiring to you on that show?

CJW:  Tim Hallinan was a wonderful guest and became a good friend after doing the show. Many of the authors really appreciated the time I put into preparation and enjoyed having their work highlighted that way.

JW:  I listened to your podcast with author Vincent O’Neil where you discussed his book Death Troupe, a book about a roving band of murder mystery actors.  I learned that you love getting involved in murder mystery theater!  How did you start that?

CJW:  I was invited to take part in a murder mystery show by a friend. I was hesitant to get up on stage as many authors are, but I discovered after about 5 shows that I really enjoy acting. I’m getting a bit better at being in front of a crowd and the great thing about the shows I’ve been involved in is that they are very interactive. The crowd gets involved and it is a great time playing a role and getting to know people.

JW:  So let’s talk about your readers!  You have some really innovative events and outings to connect with your readers.  What kinds of things have you done, and what events do you have coming up?

CJW:  I have put on dozens of fun events for readers. We’ve done everything from Advanced Driving Classes, Firearms training, Murder Mysteries, Poker Lessons, and of course I’ve been to most of the big conventions to speak to readers. I’ve hosted many online events and parties including an online murder mystery. Right now I’m getting in shape for a MANday challenge. If I lose, I’ll have to post pictures of myself half naked – a scary prospect for a writer!

CJ Answers Questions About His New Short, Thugbook:
JW:  You recently celebrated your birthday!  May 23rd you launched a twitter party and giveaway in honor of your new digital short, Thugbook!  Tell us about your book.

CJW:  Thugbook is the story of a social network gone wrong. Thugbook (a practical idea, I think) is a site where citizens post photos of criminals. The site soars in popularity and at the same time is engulfed in controversy. Criminals are turning up dead and the blame lays squarely on Thugbook. It’s an exploration of greed, revenge, and the power of technology to shape our society.

JW:  I was lucky enough to read Thugbook, and would you say “it’s part Big Brother, part Dexter, part Hustle and Flow and part The Social Network” is an accurate description?

CJW:  That’s a lot of parts! I think it certainly fits in there somewhere.

JW:  Do you think Dexter Morgan would approve of Thugbook?

CJW:  Dexter would love Thugbook. It would be the ideal research tool for him to plan murders!

JW:  The head honcho of Thugbook is a young CEO named Blaine.  He’s not very likeable when we start out.  What helped you create his character?

CJW:  People are motivated by different things and power changes people sometimes. Blaine started Thugbook to avenge the rape and murder of his sister. Along the way Fame and Fortune come to Blaine and the trappings of success change him.  I wanted to contrast this with Jones who is true to his mission to repay the criminals who have caused him harm.  The men accomplish great things, but their methods and the way they deal with success are very different.

JW:  The driving force of your story is that the reader never knows quite who to trust.  You have presented one story from several perspectives, always asking the question Is this right or wrong?  We know there are vigilantes taking the gang members into their own hands, but you ask us to think about issues like privacy and moral ethics.  What plotting tips can you share?

CJW:  I really enjoy plotting novels and my plots evolve with each new work. I think it is important for plot to grow out of character and if you start with interesting and motivated characters in conflict, good things will happen.

JW:  Well said!  What other writing tips do you recommend for writers?

CJW:  Get good advice. I also heard a great commencement speech by Neil Gaiman and his words of advice were, “Make Good Art.” That really hit me and I think it is what we all need to focus on.

CJ Answers Nonsense, But Fun, Questions:

JW:  We writers work hard, and often alone, describe your perfect day off.

CJW:  I must admit that I rarely take a day off. Maybe two or three a year.

An ideal day off would be a day on the water with my kids catching blue crabs.

JW:  What last words of advice do you have to share with our readers?

CJW:  Enjoy every moment of life’s journey. Drink in the wonders of nature and the complexities in the hearts and minds of the people you meet.

Thank you, CJ, for taking time to chat today and for sharing your new short, Thugbook, with us!

What other questions do you have for CJ?  What do you think of the idea of Thugbook?

And, don’t forget, learn more about CJ’s guilty pleasures this Friday! 

See CJ West. See Jillian Dodd. See Jillian Play With CJ’s Abs.

(image courtesy wikimedia.org)

It’s Guilty Pleasure Friday again and what’s more pleasurable than hounding down and objectifying author CJ West?

CJ is a suspense author.  A hardcore one.  I mean, the URL for his blog is CJWestKills.  See?  Hardcore!

As equally hardcore as CJ is Jillian Dodd.  Jillian fights crime with fireworks because she blogs and writes about LOVE!  Recently, the two authors happened to hobnob with other writerly folks, and Jillian asked if CJ wouldn’t mind being featured on her blog Glitter, Bliss, and Perfect Chaos for one of her epic MANday posts!

Prepare yourself, Readers, for the most provincial contest our our time!

How can you say no to that??!

So what is MANday might you ask?  It’s really better if I SHOW you.  Feast your eyes on Samoan Rugby Players and Their Tattoos or if you prefer more clean cut, try MANday’s Magic Mike, a blog all about the upcoming movie premier for a story about male erotic dancers!

Where did you all go?  Get BACK here!  And put your pants back on!

So here’s what you need to know about the contest:

If we can get 5,000 people to comment on CJ’s website before the end of June, he agreed to be featured in MANday!

If you help us, YOU will be eligible to win a prize package of ebooks by both CJ West and Jillian Dodd, as well as some other excellent writer’s books. You can enter to win that package by doing this:

Tweet this:  Help @jilliandodd convince @cjwest to be on MANday http://wp.me/p1zk5w-A7 #teamnoshirt #contest #prize #kindle #books

If we reach the goal, CJ and Jillian will also award a $500 Amazon Gift card to one lucky winner!!!

To enter, go to CJ’s blog and leave a comment.

List of e-books in prize package:

That Boy  by Jillian Dodd
That Wedding by Jillian Dodd
The End of Marking Time by CJ West
Sin And Vengeance by CJ West
Drawing Free by Elena Aitken
Devil Unknown a novella by Steena Holmes
Elemental Magic by Angela Wallace
Again by Diana Murdock
Telesa by Lani Wendt Young
Exiled by MR Merrick
The Bridge Club by Patricia Sands
Doesn’t this contest sound amazing?  I’m so excited!  Be sure to leave your comment for CJ before July 1st!
And guess what?  It’s a double dose of me today cause I’m also blogging over at the Life List Club’s new blogsite!  Haven’t checked it out yet?  Get on over there!  I’m talking about your 20’s!  You know, the supposedly defining decade of our lives?!  I’d love to hear your thoughts and introduce you to some of my favorite peeps.  You can also find us mixing martinis or coming up with costume party ideas at #LifeListClub.  See you all there!
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