Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Posting

Due to a death in my family, I probably won't be posting for a week or two.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pranic Vampires


The below description pertains to the Hunter Series Pranic Vampires. Like different forms of vampires, other Pranics may have other characteristics.

Being a fledgling Pranic can be every bit as dicey as being a blood vampire. Pranics gain their power by absorbing other humans’ energy. Since it brings about a larger than life feeling of power and a sharp rush of energy, it’s difficult for a new Pranic to stop once he or she has started absorbing energy from someone. If they aren't careful they can literally suck the life right out of another human by sapping them of every last drop of energy in their body.

A seasoned Pranic is aware of the delicate balance and just takes the amount he/she needs. It’s much easier and less noticeable if he/she does a little crowd hopping, drawing from one human then moving on to another, till he/she is satiated.
Taking energy from humans is not necessary for a Pranic to survive but it increases their power and also helps them heal, not to mention it’s an unbelievable rush. Like their counterparts, as Pranics mature their skin becomes more sensitive to light. Their sleep cycle changes and they have difficulty functioning in the daytime.Pranics can do great good or great harm.


Fred the parakeet, has a new 'bird friendly' home. Here's a pic of Fred now settled in his condo loaded with toys:)


I sent out a call for help on a couple of rescue loops and the response was overwhelming. Kudos to all the wonderful people who responded.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Kill ing Castro Virtual Book Tour



With us today is David Pereda, chatting about the second book in his fascinating Havanna series. For a chance to win what promises to be an intriguing read, leave a comment.
Welcome, David. Tell us how the creative process works for you.


“Where do you get your ideas?” I’m frequently asked.
The question always stumps me. Generally, I give a politically correct answer like “from everyday life” or “from places I’ve been to and things I’ve seen” or “from my own experience with a little help from the Internet”—and move on quickly to the next question. The truthful answer is that I don’t know.
So I decided to do a little research into my own creative process to share with the readers of this blog, and I selected my own Havana Series of thrillers as the centerpiece.
I don’t know, exactly, when I started writing the first book of the series. I can tell you, however, how the idea germinated on my mind. My ex-wife was a successful plastic surgeon, and, thanks to her, I was able to witness several complex surgeries. Since I was born in Cuba – write about something you know, remember – I started thinking, “Why not a thriller focused on a face-disguising plastic surgery to Fidel Castro?”
Once my mind had grasped the original concept, as well as its political implications, I started asking myself dozens – nay, hundreds – of “What if…” questions. “What if Fidel Castro was terribly ill?” “What if he wanted to leave the country and retire elsewhere?” “What if a member of the CIA switched identities with Castro to steer the country back to democracy?”
This process went on for quite a while, with each question carrying me further into the idea, until I had the entire concept worked out and an outline of the basic plot.
Then I started the same process with my main characters. “What if my central character was the plastic surgeon who did the surgery?” At that point in the process, I was stomped. I knew Castro wouldn’t trust just anyone, and least of all an American doctor, so I developed a critical “What if.”
“What if the plastic surgeon was Cuban-born?” Again I was stumped. How did I get him to Cuba? And here I came up with another critical “What if”, one that gave my story a great dramatic arc. “What if when the surgeon abandoned Cuba, he left his girlfriend pregnant with the son he always wanted but his late wife could never have?”
That led me to the next “What if.” “What if his childhood friend, a CIA agent Raymond hadn’t seen in thirty years, popped in his life to tell him his son is dying of Cancer and wants to meet his dad before he dies?”
And so on. Get the picture?
One of the most interesting anecdotes about the book is how I came up with the character of the beautiful but ruthless female assassin, Marcela.
I wasn’t happy with the first draft. The basic story of the widowed doctor lured to Cuba after thirty years to perform plastic surgery to Fidel Castro, in the process rekindling an affair with the childhood sweetheart he left behind and meeting the son he never knew, was interesting but plain vanilla. I felt that it lacked excitement and needed a counter-point subplot. So I came up with another “What if” question. “What if Raul Castro sent an assassin after the doctor?”
I developed a male assassin named Marcial and stuck him in the book. But I felt no empathy for Marcial. He was a mean lump, lacking energy and excitement. Marcial gave me writer’s block. One day, commiserating with my wife during dinner about my problems with Marcial, she posed to me a great “What if” question. “What if you made Marcial a woman called Marcela?”
And, suddenly, I had an epiphany. The character of Marcela exploded in my imagination. I could see the entire storyline, in vivid detail, in front of my eyes. It was an incredible moment. Marcela would be like Halle Berry on steroids but with yellow eyes, a lethal professional killer but with a strict religious and moral code. I wrote the rest of the first book of the series in three months of furious writing.
That first book, Havana: Top Secret, led me to the next, Havana: Killing Castro, and to the next, Havana: Twin Powers, which I am writing now.
Of course, throughout the process of writing each book in the series, new scenes and characters came to me – and those were based on my own experiences. I have been blessed by the gods of writing who have given me the opportunity to travel around the world for work and pleasure – which has provided the authenticity of locales and people you find in my books. I have been to all the places I describe.
All my characters are based on real people, although not on a one-on-one basis. I’d say 70% of any one of my characters is a composite of various characters I have met around the world. The other 30% is my imagination.
So ask me again that question, “Where do you get your ideas?”
I still don’t know. Is it magic, perhaps?
And now...the blurb and excerpt from KILLING CASTRO

HAVANA: KILLING CASTRO – Blurb

When an old fisherman is gunned down on a Mexican beach, prominent Miami surgeon Raymond Peters becomes the prime suspect. The dead fisherman is believed to be Fidel Castro whom Dr. Peters had helped disguise through clandestine plastic surgery on a trip to Cuba two years earlier. But is the body really that of the Cuban leader? In order to save his own life, the beleaguered physician must solve the murder, find the killers and retrieve a mysterious journal. And this has to be done while outwitting a sensual but ruthless assassin named Marcela, sent by Castro’s brother Raul.


SEDUCTION

In three days, Marcela had been able to locate the suspected killers. And
like the experienced predator that she was, she had selected her first target,
the weakest link: the stocky man named Mauricio. He came to the Versailles
for coffee every afternoon at around three p.m.
Today she would make contact.
Mauricio was there when she sashayed around the corner. She
skipped past the cars cramming the Versailles’s parking lot and took a
place standing next to him at the counter of the crowded coffee bar. The
dark-haired waitress looked at her and posed a silent question with her
arched eyebrows. She held a steaming pot in each hand, one filled with
coffee and the other with boiled milk.
“Un cafesito,” Marcela said. “And a guava pastry.”
“Con leche?”
“Black.”
“Coming right up.”
Marcela felt Mauricio giving her the eye, but she pretended not to
notice. She had stuffed herself into tight yellow latex pants and a white
sleeveless cotton blouse with a plunging neckline that left little to the
imagination. She wore minimalist dental-floss panties, so her buttocks
showed nice and round, and no brassiere. To bring out the color of her
eyes, she had combed her hair back and tied it with a bright yellow
band. Marcela knew she looked good.
She was dressed to kill.
The waitress put coffee and pastry on the counter, and Marcela,
smiling, turned to Mauricio and caught him staring at her. “Pass the
sugar, please?”
“Sure.” Blushing, he placed the glass sugar container in front of her.
“Never seen you around here before.”
Marcela poured sugar into the small cup and stirred it with a
teaspoon before answering. “Never seen you here either, so that makes
two of us.”
“I come here every day.”
“Good for you.”
Marcela took a bite of her guava pastry and chewed. For effect, she
breathed in deeply and kept her back straight. God, she looked good,
and she knew it. She had a terrific and fit body, with large, pointed
breasts, long legs and a muscular ass. Cuban men liked nice asses, and
she had one of the best.
Mauricio was looking at it right now.
Marcela let him ogle a little longer, build up expectations, before
talking to him again. “I was living in New York. I just moved down to
Miami. Too cold for me there.”
“How do you like it here?”
“I don’t know yet. I’ve been here a week, and I haven’t been
anywhere.”
“Why not?”
“I don’t have a car, and I don’t know anybody here.”
“You know me now.” Marcela noticed how Mauricio puffed his chest
when he said that and knew the fish had taken the bait and was on the
hook. “And I have a car.”
Marcela cocked her head and inspected him up and down. “You
married?”
“No.”
“Let me check your hands.”
Marcela took Mauricio’s hands, one at a time, and checked the fingers
for evidence of wedding rings. Oh, the human touch! She let her fingers
linger a while before removing them. Mauricio had goose bumps.
“I guess not.”
“How about you?” Mauricio coughed.
Marcela put her arms on her hips. “Do I look married to you?”
Mauricio cleared his throat. “No boyfriend, either?”
“That’s the reason I left New York. I broke up with him. He used to
get drunk and beat me.”
Mauricio scrunched up his face sympathetically. “Sorry to hear that.”
Marcela gave him her alarmed face, squinting eyes and all. “Say,
you’re not one of these men who like to beat up women, are you?”
“No, no,” Mauricio mumbled. “Of course not.”
“Or one of these sexual predators from Miami I hear about all the
time. My girlfriend Elisa warned me. She told me there’s a rapist on
Calle Ocho who has killed dozens of women. Is that true?”
“It is, but the police caught him already.”
Marcela looked directly into Mauricio’s eyes while Mauricio tried
hard not to look at her breasts. Men are so predictable.
“No, you don’t look like a sexual predator.”
“You have beautiful eyes.” Mauricio fidgeted. “Yellow. I’ve never
seen eyes that color before. They’re odd.”
You haven’t seen anyone like me before. “Is that the best pickup line you
have?”
“No,” Mauricio blurted out. “I mean, it’s no line.”
“You’re not trying to pick me up then? I thought you were going to
offer to show me Miami?”
“No, I mean yes.”
Marcela placed a hand on Mauricio’s arm, resting on the counter. “I
was just teasing. When?”
“When?”
“When are you going to take me out and show me Miami? I’m so
tired of seeing only the four walls of my room.”
Mauricio hit his cup with his elbow, sending a small wave of coffee
splashing to the counter. “Whenever you want.”
Marcela was getting excited, imagining what was coming. Her
nipples became erect. She leaned forward so Mauricio could glance
inside her blouse and feast his eyes on her breasts. Time to yank the line
and reel the fish in. She batted her eyelashes.
“You have anything planned for tonight?”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Unexpected Surprise


Thursday was critter day. I had agreed to foster three kittens--see above. Pretty cute aren't they. So I stopped by the vet to pick them up then got them settled in. These guys brought the critter quota up to a dog and eight cats at the house. Plenty of critters, right? Later that evening, I went for a walk with the hh and the dog. We were walking down the lane when what did we see coming toward us on the other side of the road....Take a guess.

1. A car

2. A truck

3. A turtle

4. A deer

5. A raccoon

6. A parakeet.

I bet you cheated and looked at the pic. Yup, there was a little blue parakeet meandering down the road. He hopped right up on my shoe and began to nibble at the laces. We put him in a box and made the rounds of the neighborhood but no one claimed him. So yes, we now have a dog, eight cats and a parakeet in residence. The poor little guy, who I call Fred, probably thinks he died and went to birdie hell with all the cats around. I'm hoping to find him a good home soon.

Years ago during the depression, if a farmer was generous and gave them food, hobos would leave a mark at the end of the a farmer's lane. This was done to alert other hobos that this was a good place to stop, that they would be fed. I think the animals have discreetly placed a paw print somewhere on the property:)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Aubrie Dionne


Please join me today, at downtownya.blogspot.com, where Aubrie Dionne will be stopping by on her virtual book tour to promote her new book NEBULA’S MUSIC.
*We've got 3 4 week old baby kittens coming tomorrow. I'll take pics and post.

Monday, April 12, 2010

CONTEST FOR CAT LOVERS

Promo
CONTEST FOR CAT LOVERS. Win a signed copy of Makita for yourself and a goody bag for your favorite feline filled with rhinestone collars, walking leash and harness, cat toys and treats. Simply leave a comment at downtownya.blogspot.com and send an email to sandracox1@gmail.com. Put MAKITA CONTEST in the subject line. The contest runs from April 12 through April 30. The drawing will be held on May 1st. Good luck.


Congrats to LuAnn who won the GROUNDED contest.

Excerpt:

Trembling violently, Makita, the Himalayan cat, stood on a bridge aglow with brilliant colors. Sunshine warmed her back and fresh air filled her nostrils. She smelled fear but it emanated from herself.
At the bottom of the bridge, a semi-circle of cats stood waiting.
A regal Abyssinian raised his paw and beckoned. “Come, friend. Join us.”
The Himalayan took a tentative step forward. “Who are you?”
“I am Ramses and this is the Council of Nine.” He lifted his paw to encompass the other cats. “Actually, the Council of Ten.” He put his paw around the little tabby that sat at his side. The tabby purred in response and licked his ear.
“Where am I?”
“Catarau,” Ramses said.
“Catarau,” she breathed in wonder. “It really exists.”
“This is the first life you’ve lost then? I didn’t think I’d seen you here before.”
“Yes.” She looked around. Lush grassy acres stretched as far as the eye could see, dotted with mountains of—she sniffed—kibble.
She sniffed again. Nearby, catmint plants waved their pretty leaves in the breeze.
Kittens chased butterflies. The more mature cats lay or sat in the luxuriant transparent grass, sunning themselves, some on their backs with their paws in the air.
A light breeze in the blue sky tossed and separated the grass. Clouds floated not only above her but below as well. Mists rolled beneath them.
A lonely howl rose to meet her. “Bennie,” she whispered. Her tail twitching, her ears flat, she crouched and looked through the mists. A brindle-colored boxer nuzzled her lifeless body, then threw his head in the air and bayed as if his heart would break.
“Oh, Bennie.” She sniffed and wiped a tear from her eye. Quivering, she got to her feet and faced Ramses. “I’ve just used one life. Correct, oh great Ramses?”
The big cat flattened his ears and swished his tail. “Yes,” the Abyssinian hissed, his eyes narrowed as if he sensed what was coming and didn’t like it.
Already trembling from her death experience, she quivered at his attitude. “And I have eight more?”
“Yes.”
“So I can go back?”
He sighed and waved a great paw. “Look around you, why would you want to?”
“Look below you, how could I stay?” she responded quietly.
http://www.wing-epress.com/
www.sandracox1.com

Also:
Please join me April 14th, at downtownya.blogspot.com, where Aubrie Dionne will be stopping by on her virtual book tour to promote her new book NEBULA’S MUSIC.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pluses to Being GROUNDED In a Statue

Being stuck inside a statue from dawn to dusk isn't a perfect scenerio but it does have benefits:
1. If you're a night owl you can sleep all day.
2. If you're wrongly accused and thrown in jail, poof you'll be gone come morning.
3. You never have to worry about not wearing enough sunscreen.
4. You don't have to fight rush hour traffic or get stuck behind a school bus first thing in the morning.
5. You don't have to mow the grass.
6. Or weed the garden.
7. Or deal with ants crawling all over you at a picnic.
8. Or worry about your sunglasses being out of style.
9. The beach isn't as crowded.
10. You can watch the fireflies flit in the dark.
11. Watch the moths dance in the light.
12. Take romantic walks in the moonlight.
13. Listen to the soft hoot of owls and other night birds.
14. Wander through a night garden.
15. Dance under the stars.
And lastly, just be.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Dark Side of Woman

Picture painted by Meghan Cox

~*~

The Dark Side of Woman

A woman was in town on a shopping trip. She began her day by findingthe most perfect shoes in the first shop and a beautiful dress on saleslashed by 75 percent in the second. In the third, everything had justbeen reduced by 50 percent when her mobile phone rang.


It was a female doctor notifying her that her husband had just been in a terrible car accident and was in critical condition in the ICU. The woman told the doctor to inform her husband where she was and that she'd be there as soon as possible.

As she hung up she realized she was leaving what was shaping up to beher best day ever in the boutiques. She decided to get in a couple more shops before heading to the hospital. She ended up shopping therest of the morning, finishing her trip with a cup of coffee and abeautiful chocolate cake slice, compliments of the last shop. She was jubilant.





Then she remembered her husband. Feeling guilty, she dashed to the hospital. She saw the woman doctor in the corridor and asked about herhusband's condition.


The doctor glared at her and shouted, "You went ahead and finished your shopping trip, didn't you!? I hope you're proud of yourself! While you were out for the past four hours enjoying yourself in town, your husband has been languishing in pain in theIntensive Care Unit! It's just as well you went ahead and finished,because it will more than likely be the last shopping trip you'll evertake! For the rest of his life he will require round-the-clock care.And he will now be your career!"

The woman, overcome with guilt, broke down and sobbed.

The woman doctor chuckled and said, "I'm just messing with you. He's dead. Show me what you bought."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

How to Decide Who to Marry

You may have already seen this.
What a hoot.
HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHO TO MARRY? (written by kids)
(1) You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming. - Alan, age 10
(2) No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with. - Kristen, age 10
WHAT IS THE RIGHT AGE TO GET MARRIED?
(1) Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then. - Camille, age 10
(2) No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married. - Freddie, age 6 (very wise for his age)
HOW CAN A STRANGER TELL IF TWO PEOPLE ARE MARRIED?
(1) You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids. - Derrick, age 8
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON?
(1) Both don't want any more kids. - Lori, age 8
WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO ON A DATE?
(1) Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough. - Lynnette, age 8 (isn't she a treasure)
(2) On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date. - Martin, age 10 (Who said boys do not have brains)
WHAT WOULD YOU DO ON A FIRST DATE THAT WAS TURNING SOUR?
(1) I'd run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns. -Craig, age 9
WHEN IS IT OKAY TO KISS SOMEONE?
(1) When they're rich. - Pam, age 7 (I could not have said it better myself)
(2) The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn't want to mess with that. - Curt, age 7 (Good Point)
(3 ) The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It's the right thing to do. - Howard, age 8 (Who made the rule)
IS IT BETTER TO BE SINGLE OR MARRIED?
It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them. - Anita, age 9 (bless you child)
HOW WOULD THE WORLD BE DIFFERENT IF PEOPLE DIDN'T GET MARRIED?
(1 ) There sure would be lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there? - Kelvin, age 8
And the #1 Favorite is........
HOW WOULD YOU MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK?
(1 ) Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck. - Ricky, age 10 ( The boy already understands) .