Friday, October 24, 2014

A few words with Erika Szabo

Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm always busy doing something, because I hate the feeling of boredom. I work as a nurse supervisor, and in my free time I write paranormal fantasy, and also, Alternative Healing books that I offer free on my website. I love helping animals, so I founded the Read for Animals anthology project, the royalty from the sales of the books is donated to animal shelters. I provide manuscript critique and book interior design/formatting service to fellow writers, and I do occasional contests on my website to promote authors. 

Coffee or tea?
Coffee, definitely coffee. I always search for the best flavor mixture, thus I always have at least 4-5 different coffee beans in my cabinet.

Do you have a favorite type of music to write to?
I love listening to classical music when I write. My favorites are Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Kodaly, Puccini and Beethoven.

Of your characters which one is your favorite?
I only have one book published so far, Protected By The Falcon, book one of the Ancestor’s Secrets series. Book two, Chosen By The Sword is coming soon.
My favorite character is Ilona. She is sensitive, honest and strong. She has to learn about her heritage, and accept the supernatural powers bestowed upon her. She is forced to fight for her family, friends, as well as the future of her people, whilst dealing with everyday life and her confusing, yet exciting love life. She is conflicted between having confidence in her inherited abilities, while having no confidence as a woman. Her insecurity created barriers, which keep others out, and I also keep her caged in. She has been evacuated from her easy and steady life, and is forced to face the unknown. Ilona is determined to control and guide her own life. Resourceful and daring, she crosses the line and breaks the sacred rules, but also must face the consequences.

Excerpt:
Suddenly, out of the blue, I heard the seductive voice from my dream. Am I losing my marbles? As if confirming that I wasn’t losing it, I heard the voice again, right behind me. The sound started electrical ripples down my spine. I glanced over my shoulder and saw the man from across the gallery the other day standing beside Robert. He was even more attractive up close. He turned toward me, probably sensing my stare. Startled, I tried to look away, but couldn’t. His eyes mesmerized me and held me captive. I wanted to keep his face etched in my mind forever. I slowed time a little, and from the corner of my eye, I saw those around me moving in slow motion.
His face contorted into an evil and sinister grimace, as he stared right at me. His movements didn’t slow with the rest of the people around us; he moved with normal speed, just like me. His eyes became black, and his pupils distended. His body posture displayed a charging mode, as if he were going to attack me. He shook his head, then shuddered and snarled quietly. A great inner turmoil showed on his face, as if he were fighting with something extremely powerful. He clenched his fists and his knuckles turned pasty white. His jaw was shut tight and I heard him grinding his teeth. Sickening warmth spread from the pit of my stomach through my entire body. I could swear my legs turned to jelly, and my palms sweated. I had to swallow hard to get rid of the lump building up in my throat and couldn’t fathom how such a gorgeous creature could become so malevolent.
I was in shock and didn’t understand what was happening when his face smoothed and his body relaxed. I quickly returned time to normal, and he seemed as if he hadn’t been aware of what happened. His inviting blue eyes sparkled as he smiled at me, and then turned to Robert.
I just imagined it. I had to… he can’t be that malicious person I just saw. Oh, crap! What is happening to me and why? I questioned myself, knowing I couldn’t get the answer, not there and not then. I turned back to the computer, my heart thumped in my chest so loudly I was afraid the others might hear it, and tried to compose myself. Deep breaths steadied my raging thoughts and racing heart.
Then I heard Robert’s voice. “Ilona, let me introduce to you Zoltan Kiss, one of our new physicians. He will be training with me today, and he’ll be your partner after he settles in,” Robert explained, tapping my shoulder.
My heart fluttered like a startled bird in its cage ready to take flight. I was afraid to look up. What if I see that evil look in his eyes again? I hesitated, pretending to finish the sentence in my notes, and then raised my hand to make him hold on for a second. I gathered my courage and looked straight into a pair of deepest and warmest blue eyes I have ever seen. He looked perfect, and I didn’t see or feel any trace of evil in him. His eyes locked on mine for a fraction of a second, and I thought I saw a brief shock on his face and a hint of pain in his eyes, but after a fleeting second, it had vanished.
I am totally losing my mind. I'm sure of it. He is gorgeous, and he seems perfectly normal now. Why do I have to see evil where there is none, or is there? Does that mean that because I’m a Hun adult I have the power to see what is deep inside people? If this is the case, I don’t want this, and whoever gave me this ability of insight, can take it back. I wanted to forget his sinister look and tried to force myself to believe it never happened.
“Hello,” he said simply. His deep, purring voice sounded exactly as in my dream. How could my unconscious mind conjure up his voice in my dream? I never heard his voice before. I gathered my courage, turned my chair and looked at him. He extended his right arm slowly, offering our traditional greeting. He looked into my eyes, and something awoke in my core that had been dormant all my life. I felt the electric tingling sensation shoot through me, as if it wanted to reach every cell in my body. It was an exciting and new sensation. This feeling was pure and good, nothing like the powerful evil feeling I had before. I ground my teeth and forced myself to act normal.

Say something damn it, and hold yourself together. “It’s nice to meet you, Zoltan,” I whispered, still feeling his mesmerizing vibes. I looked down at his hand, and noticed the small blood-red ancient symbol, etched into his inner right wrist, just like mine.

Picture

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ebola

   An agency I just donated to is Doctors Without Borders. They're having quite the battle with bringing the Ebola epidemic under control in west Africa. There just isn't the facilities available to take care of the many sick patients. One of those who is ill is sent home again and is then infecting others. It's a terrible situation.
   I've been doing a lot of research on it lately. The disease first appeared in 1976 in Sudan. There were two outbreaks one of which was at a mission clinic run by Nuns. They didn't have a good supply of needles so they were reusing them which spread the disease among all of the patients. Since then it's cropped up now and then in different places but it's usually low numbers which have been fairly easily contained. 
   It's also a disease that mostly affects the poor. Because there's little profit to be made from a drug that would be primarily used by poor people none of the drug companies has bothered to make a vaccine previously though I guess there's now one in the works. They found four survivors of a previous outbreak and now they've isolated the antigens in their blood which they are in turn are testing on Ebola cultures. We could very well soon have a immunization for the virus which I would recommend getting once available.
   For this particular outbreak patient zero was a little boy who contracted an especially virulent strain of the virus in November 2012 in Guinea. They aren't quite sure where he got it though it's suspected he ate a bat which is common in that part of the world. When you're starving and you're extremely poor the wildlife is getting hunted. He died after having spread to the rest of his family who also died. It's a country where there had never been an outbreak of the disease. 14 months later they finally found out what they were dealing with and by then it was too late. They had a full fledged epidemic on their hands. From that country at least two other carriers brought it to Nigeria and Liberia which is what spread the contagion further.

   How they're trying to deal with it is build some more clinics. They are desperately needed and there would be more of an ability to quarantine those who are ill. There's also a need for bleach, lots of bleach which kills the virus. Just maybe they can start bringing it under control.
If you can afford it please give a donation. http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/

Friday, October 10, 2014

Some thoughts on a secured border.

   Here are my thoughts on security along the Mexican border. I've been mulling it over and began to look at it as a military objective. The thing I look at on putting up a fence is it's far too easy to circumvent. You will still have the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts to secure which isn't being suggested. If someone wants to get in they'll still be able to. In fact you give the ones trying to get in a bit of time and they'll soon have a tunnel underneath dug.  
   That leaves some sort of patrolling. I recommend taking a bunch of those drones, interface them with INS, and of course hire a bunch of the ones who were piloting them over Afghanistan and Iraq. The drones can run the entire border pretty efficiently including both coasts.
   During WWII the Maginot line was considered the best possible secured border. What did the German military machine do? They simply bypassed it and went on into Belgium and France.
   Going back a further in time to the occupation of Britain I call attention to Hadrian's Wall. The first one wasn't very effective and there were a lot of incursions. A second wall was built as a result about twenty miles south of the first one. It also managed to get a lot of incursions. In the end we all know the Roman Empire left Britain.
   I can pull up many more instances like this but these are two of the most famous ones.
By putting up a fence along the southern border you're asking for the same kind of thing. While I understand the need it needs to be better thought out than seems to be at present.

Busy, busy

Recently on my day job my schedule changed to five days a week so I have a bit less time at home now. It's okay though because the paychecks will be larger which will be useful. Probably the worst part is I don't have quite as much time for writing as I used to.

I've been working on the, "Doctors in Hell," project these days. It's part of the Lawyers in Hell series. So far, it's coming along very nicely and it will soon be ready to turn in. As soon as I get done writing this blog post I'll get back at it. 

Hopefully soon I'll have an announcement to make about another novel that's been in works for a while. There was an editing issue I guess which sometimes happens in fiction. It will be called, "Ill Wind Cometh," when it gets released this time.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Reading Terror by Gaslight

Right now I'm reading Terror by Gaslight and I'm most of the way through it. All of the stories are set in the period from 1860-1929. They span quite a gamut as you would expect from an anthology.
   One of my stories is in collection, A Spiritus Renascentis. In Latin the title translates to a spirit of rebirth or a spirit reborn. It's a creepy little tidbit from the world of death portraits. This one goes quite wrong though.
   So far the whole collection is really good and creepy. I'm not sure I can pick any favorites because all of the stories are quite good. I'm thinking most would work well being made into movies. 
   



Unlike what's usual for me I even read my own story and I have to say it's a good one. Of course I wrote it a year ago so it's been long enough. One of the rules I set when I set upon this writing quest was not to read anything I've written for at least one year. This collection has been in the works for a while now, originally it was to be published in Fall 2013.
   That something I wrote could make it into this collection quite frankly amazes me and greatly pleases me. You sometimes doubt your own ability to write. I think that's only natural though if you care about your craft and I do. Well, enough about me for now. 
   I believe the collection is to be available at many local bookstores. That was my understanding anyway. At the least I know you can order a print copy at the Barnes & Noble nearest you. It has been published in hard cover, paperback, and e-book. 
   Looking online I've found it in these places though there are, and will be, many more.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Creepiness

I was talking with Brandy the other day. Apparently she was sent penis images. Think about it, that's just fucking creepy. It's not just happening to her, it's also happening to many other women whom I also know. If you who are reading this are one of those sending such I respectfully request you stop doing it right now. If I was a woman it'd probably make me decide it's best to stay alone if I wasn't with someone. I could get more of a thrill out of a vibrator.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Great Depression

One of the things I do is study history. Take a look what I've written. Probably over is either historical or it's made up of stuff taken directly from history. One of the many things that interests me is the Great Depression. I want to understand why, and how, it happened. Not only that I want to understand how people got through it all. A couple of the stories I've written are actually set in the time and there's a couple of post apocalyptic stories that are set in similar economic environments.

   I've read this through a second time and I don't agree with everything in it though it does a good job of laying out many of the causes of the Great Depression. About the only thing they aren't mentioning is mortgage securities that were called in. They were very similar to those ones that AIG was producing in the 2000's. You take a bunch of mortgages, package them together, and turn them into a security. 
   Back when I was investing I had a tendency to shy away from them once I learned what they were made up of. Usually there was junk packaged in with really good securities. The junk was of course loans that were given to people who couldn't conceivably continue to pay on the note if their finances took a turn for the worst. I can't believe looking back some of the mortgages that were written. Closer to 1927-28 they were basically sub-prime garbage but National Bank, and several others didn't inform the investors what they were really investing in. Doesn't that sound familiar?
   When people couldn't pay their mortgages the banks went after the securitizations which most of those investors couldn't cover the difference in value. Most of them ended up going bankrupt. BTW, roughly 18% of all houses were foreclosed on. We we lucky in 2007 since we didn't have protectionists in the Senate, House, and the Presidency.
   As a result of the mortgage meltdown of 1929-32 a lot of people lost their homes. They had no place to go. The result was the Hooverville which was named after the President of the time. Mostly they were shanty towns and most towns didn't want them put on the front page of the paper. If you look elsewhere you'll see things written about the bonus Army. They lived in one of the shanty towns in Washington, D.C. They'd all lost their houses because they couldn't find jobs. This particular web site is pretty informative. http://depts.washington.edu/depress/hooverville.shtml
   Hopefully you learned a lot today. I'm off to watch more of The Roosevelt's on PBS.