Saturday, November 15, 2014

A "LUCKY" Excerpt

With a few more weeks left on the .99 cent deal over at Smashwords here now is a special excerpt from LUCKY SEVENS.

After the read remember to head over to Smashwords and enter code ZC57R at checkout to receive this title for only .99 and help support a worthy cause while getting a great read in the process!

EXCERPT:
Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada

The sign stood bright and bold like a gatekeeper welcoming the tourists, and their money, into an adult playground. The city itself has been loved, hated, and stereotyped as a fantastical realm of fun and fortune. For Lucky, Las Vegas was home...nothing more and nothing less.
He'd driven half the night back in from a long hiatus of drinking on the shore of Hermosa Beach. Traveling north on Las Vegas Boulevard past Mandalay Bay he decided to head right over to work rather than going home.
Time had passed slowly since Charles Vega's death but a twenty-four hour city like Vegas ran on its own clock. Lucky hadn't been away very long but in that time they had managed to transform Lucky Sevens Casino into the mega-resort Saints and Sinners.
Up and down Las Vegas Boulevard, The Strip bore witness to the casino-hotel hybrid. The elaborate structure design, lagoon-style pools, and additional theme park attractions had all but edged out the traditional casinos that focused solely on gaming to attract their potentials. It was the dawn of a new era.  


* * * * *
“I could’ve been a big star in this town but I would’ve owed my life to The Mafia,” Lucky said as he helped himself to another swig from his frosted mug.
Marty Cholmers ran his damp rag once, twice over the surface of the bar before responding.
“I hate to burst your bubble but they don’t make superstars out of security watchdogs, not even in this town.”
“I used to sing pretty good back in my day,” Lucky argued.
“Belt out a few bars, let’s hear that instead of your same old pity-party.”
Lucky took another sip of his beer to avoid answering and then changed the subject.
“I’m just saying that Vegas was a lot better when ‘The Boys’ used to run the town.”
“I know, Lucky, you say that every time you come in here and drink too much.Problem is you’ve got to change with the times or risk extinction.”
It was only a few minutes past opening inside Diablita’s Bar & Grill and already a healthy group of tourists filled the place. They came across state lines to test their mettle up against the already infamous two-pound burrito.Anyone with an iron gut who could devour the beast within an hour period would leave with a free meal, a t-shirt, and heartburn for life.
Lucky wasn’t interested in playing games with his food. He came to drink, and to shoot the shit with Marty, but mostly to drink.
“Let me tell you something, Marty,” Lucky said moving his empty mug aside to make room for the wagging his finger was about to do. With Italians expression came not just in words but the entire body. “When ‘The Boys’ were running the show they took care of people. You lose twenty bucks at a machine and they’d comp you a nice steak dinner right there. Try and get that type of treatment today.”
Marty took the empty mug and ran another swipe across the bar.
“Outwith the old and in with the new, Lucky. The Gambino’s knew that. They all became lawyers.”
“Y'know what the problem is with the so-called ‘new face’ of Vegas? It’s all stunts and gaudy shows, nothing substantial like it used to be.” Lucky paused to reminisce. “Charlie taught me that.”
“The real Vegas is Elvis and boobs, you know that.”
Marty’s quip drew a small chuckle out of Lucky but it didn’t keep him from regressing back into his brooding. It had only been six months since Charles Vega’s death and the sting of it had hardly subsided. Lucky could barely get up in the morning without feeling a horrible empty sensation in his heart. The only way he managed to get through his days at all was at the bottom of a bottle or a frosted mug.
“Hey let’s salute the old man, huh?” he said raising his empty mug. “Fill me up.”
Marty took the empty mug and started drawing another draft off tap.
“Just beer today? You sure you don’t want a shot?”
Lucky shook his head. “I’ll stick with the beer.”
Lucky had come to know Marty well back when Diablita’s had been Marty’s Melody Room inside Lucky Sevens. It somewhat pained Lucky to see Marty working for someone,reduced to ridiculous food gimmicks to get customers, instead of running his own tavern. Marty never complained. He just did his job, happy to still have one after the ax of corporate takeover had fallen.
Marty’sMelody Room had been classy, one of the last piano bars known in existence.That kind of ambiance didn’t jive with the new d├ęcor. Ever since the transition from Lucky Sevens to Saints and Sinners had been completed, Lucky had seen alot of gaudy new attractions that would have Charles Vega turn in his grave.
“Backto my point, Marty,” Lucky told him. “This town is fast becoming an industrial wasteland of crime and corruption. Two shots in the head and bang you’re dead.The majority of the community is full of fugitives who found their way here to get lost in the crowd. It’s like I always say, get rid of the crooks and bring back The Mafia.”
“If you hate it so much why don’t you move?”
Lucky pondered the question for a minute then answered the only way he knew how. “Areyou kidding? This is my home.”
“Well then I guess you better just grin and bear it. There’s no messing with those in power.”
“Dependswho holds the cards. They don’t call me Lucky for nothing.”
Marty shook his head. “Are you drunk right now?”
“Ofcourse not, you're being too damn stingy with your pour. I’m getting nothing but foam here.”
“I'm serious, Lucky. I know how Vega's death shook you up and I'm just wondering how much.”
“You mean did I fall off the wagon?”
“Yes.”
Lucky returned the half empty mug of beer back across the bar top.
“I'mfine Marty.”
“Youdon't look fine.”
“I'mwhat they refer to as a functioning alcoholic.”
An uncomfortable silence grew thick on the air between them until Lucky relieved Marty's worry with a little less sarcasm.
“Really,I'm fine.”
“Just checking. You know how long it took you to dry out the last time.”
 “Thanks for the concern but I've gotta split,”Lucky said. “My first order of business under Zeder is to pick up some VIP from the airport.”
“A whale?”
“I guess so, but I don’t remember seeing him around before. Must be new money.”
“Make sure you steer him my way, Lucky. I could use the business.”
“Hey,who loves ya?”
“Youdon’t love anybody.”
“You know that ain’t true, Marty,” Lucky’s eyes got lost in the bottom of his glass and instantly he saw Brooklyn with her long blonde hair and legs to match with soul lit on fire. There were no other women like her anywhere in the world and he’d let her slip away.
Marty took a jab at him while he was distracted. “Are you OK or are you going to start crying in the mixed nuts?”
“Sounds like your sex life you fuckin’ weirdo,” Lucky returned. He emptied his mug and passed it back over to Marty then stood up with a grizzly bear stretch. “OK,let me get the fuck out of here and take care of some business. Be good,Marty.”
“You know it.”
Marty stepped away to tend to some of his other customers. Lucky glanced around Diablita’s paying particular attention to the overhead security cameras. He positioned himself in a manner that he knew would block his actions from sight.With fast hands he reached over the bar and scooped up a bottle of bourbon from its home in the speed rack.
“Onefor the road,” he said under his breath.
He stuffed the bottle in the small duffel he'd been carrying and made his way out the door quick and clean.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Las Vegas Based Novel to Benefit Cancer Research

Lucky Sevens was released last year and in that time it has garnered some very high marks. Mostly 5 star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads has kept this novel going strong into its anniversary. About a year ago Lucky Sevens was published. The lead character Lucky Luchazi was based on my father Charlie Vespia. In honor of my dad I have been donating a percentage of the profit from each copy of Lucky Sevens sold to colon cancer research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. In honor of the anniversary, and my father's birthday, I'm offering Lucky Sevens at a discounted price over at Smashwords. From now until Dec 3rd just enter Coupon Code: ZC57R at checkout to receive this title for only .99 and help support a worthy cause while getting a great read in the process! https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/361258






FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November, 2014
Las Vegas Based Novel to Benefit Cancer Research
Portion of proceeds from local author’s new thriller will go to Cedars-Sinai Colon Cancer Research Program  
(Las Vegas, NV) Las Vegas native and local author Cynthia Vespia, The Original Cyn, is pulling back the neon curtains to reveal a side of Las Vegas few know. In LUCKY SEVENS, Vespia tells a gritty, true-to-life tale that captures the spirit of sin city and focuses on the raw human emotions of the people who live, work, and play there.
Partial proceeds from the sale of LUCKY SEVENS will go to help the Cedar-Sinai Colorectal Cancer Program in honor of Charles Vespia Jr. whom the novel is dedicated to. As well as being Cynthia’s father, Charles Vespia Jr. was a beloved comedian and singer on the Las Vegas strip for over twenty years. Charles lost his long battle with colon cancer in September of 2011. LUCKY SEVENS was released on his birthday in November 2013 as tribute.
“Even though the novel isn’t about cancer, per say, it does touch on other demons to battle such as alcoholism and drug abuse,” Cynthia says. “It is also full of tales and anecdotes my father told me about from his days on the famed Las Vegas strip. My intent was to write an entertaining story based in the reality of what it is like to live in Las Vegas. And if I can shine a light on the realities of colon cancer and do my part to help at the same time then so much the better. Both my mother and father passed away due to colon cancer. I wanted to honor their memory in some way.”   
LUCKY SEVENS is a commercial suspense based in Las Vegas with a touch of magic on the side. Luca “Lucky” Lucazi is a man who lives for the job, until the job starts to threaten his life. A former Navy Seal, Lucky is ideal as the head of security for Lucky Sevens Casino. But when major names at the casino start falling victim to deadly and suspicious "accidents" Lucky must fight his way through a cast of eccentric characters only Las Vegas could spawn, and his own battle with alcoholism, before his lover Brooklyn - the sweethearted stripper - becomes the next victim. But when Lucky faces off with illusionist Christopher King, endowed with real magic powers, will his luck finally run out?


About the Author
Cynthia Vespia has a background as an award winning video editor; certified personal trainer; licensed private security guard; and trained mixologist. But the allure of writing has always been at the forefront. As a skilled wordsmith she established a successful career as a journalist and promotional writer. Throughout that time she remained true to her passion and pursuit of writing novels. Today Cynthia writes suspense fiction with savagely powerful characters and strong storylines designed to stir the adrenaline. Her writing has been described as “engaging and descriptive.” Cynthia likes to refer to her novels as "Real life situations that you could find yourself in but hope to God you never do. In her spare time she enjoys reading, movies that involve a strong plot/characters, and keeping active through various forms of martial arts and as an active fitness competitor. 

Current Reviews – Amazon.com
“A very well written sexy & romantic fast paced book, easy to read/follow from start/finish, never a dull moment. Lots of surprising twists/turns. A great set of characters. Could be the makings of a great R Vegas movie or as usual a TV series? Very easy for me to give this book a rating of 5 stars.”

“Absolutely loved this book. Lots of dysfunctional characters resulting in plenty of snap, crackle, and pop! Ms. Vespia's writing style in this book is lean, fast, and seductive as poetry.”

“The characters were rich, bold, thoughtful, creative, and unique too. I thought the writing was edgy and dark too. I look forward to reading more work from this author.”

“After reading anything I ask myself several questions: What did you like best or least about this work and did the author achieve their goal? My gut rings out with a resounding YES! Yes, I think the author achieved their goal, Cynthia has created a world that is so easy to escape into. Waltzing thru Lucky’s mind and hearing his thoughts, listening to his stories about the good old days, feeling the emotions of Brooklyn as she realizes that she still loves Lucky, hating Eddie and Chris King for their actions and intentions. I think I liked best that Miss Cynthia didn’t pull any punches here.”

“The characters are well drawn and the plot moves fast. Like Sin City itself, this book has a curious, almost seductive attraction for the reader--that makes "Lucky Seven" a compelling read.”

LUCKY SEVENS
by Cynthia Vespia
Original Cyn Creative Services * On Sale: November 2, 2013
ISBN: 978-1491296912
For more information visit the official website at: www.CynthiaVespia.com
 

Friday, September 26, 2014

TV Review - The Killing

So recently I came out from the cave I was living in (cable!) and got Netflix where I proceeded to binge watch a little show called The Killing.
I made a long list of TV shows I've missed watching but I decided to start with The Killing because after seeing her hold her own against Arnold Schwarzenegger in Sagotage; be a hippy mom to Hit Girl herself (Chloe Grace Moretz) in If I Stay; and then break a board in two with her bare hand on the Ellen show; I absolutely love Mireille Enos!

Here is my review, there may be mild spoilers:

The first two seasons of The Killing are riveting! It is dark and sometimes unsettling watching a murder investigation of a teenage girl unfold over the course of a month or so. So the dynamic parts of the series involve many plot lines. Det Sarah Linden (played by Mireille) is trying to balance life and work. It is supposed to be her last day on the job, she is scheduled to start a new life with a new husband, in a new state but the case of this murdered young lady abruptly takes precedence. Starting with the fact that her boss won't let her leave and then because Linden just doesn't want to. Factor into that the new guy, Det Steven Holder (played exquisitley by Joel Kinneman) and we get some good old fashioned headbutting. Then there are the side characters who round everything out nicely: the girls family and the aftermath of what losing a loved one does to them; the political camps; the kids at school; etc. Although the political stuff started to bore me and I did skip alot of it, I really fell in love with the show right away. It had alot to do with the character of Sarah Linden and how Mireille portrayed her. She reminded me of me. Linden is no-nonsense, doesn't take crap from anyone. Short but scrappy and also a bit of a lone wolf because of a past that involves alot of people leaving her. She really resonated with me.

After they wrap up the Rosie Larsen murder (with a twist I DID NOT see coming!) they move onto a new case in Season 3. This is where for me it bombed badly! Something got lost in the equation and other than about two really decent episodes and a few interesting moments (hello awkward headbutt kiss on the couch!) this season made me want to throw in the towel.

I stuck it out and was rewarded with a pretty crazy season finale. So with only 6 episodes to season 4 I just let them rip one afternoon. The case they were investigating was all over the place. Even guest start Joan Allen couldn't make that work. But it was the B story, the investigation into Linden and Holder, that had me glued to the set.

Now I've read alot of reviews online about the very end and how it was "too happy" for the series. I disagree, I liked the closure. I was just happy they didn't cut it off with a random pan shot of one of the lead characters driving away, that would've sucked. I'm one of those people who believes they dropped the ball by...

SPOILER!


...not having them actually kiss at the end. Anytime you have a male/female partner show they are expected to hook up at some point, so robbing us of that moment is kind of a let down. But at least they had Linden turn the car around and everything was "implied." I'll take that in the very least.



Here now is an interview with the showrunner on more of the finale: http://tvline.com/2014/08/07/the-killing-season-4-spoilers-final-6-episodes-linden-holder-kiss/

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fitness: My Other Life



As you may or may not know along with writing my passion for fitness stands high. I was a fitness competitor for about 4 years in a show called Women's Tri Fitness. After that I became a personal trainer, which I still am to this day. But I've always loved the world of fitness. My brother was a pro bodybuilder and upon his passing left a gift for me to start on my own journey.
I'm in the midst of writing a memoir/training manual of sorts that details that journey.
But today's blog is going to touch on the uniqueness that is the world of fitness, mostly bodybuilding. I grew up with Arnold Schwarzenegger as a personal hero, as did many others. To this day I admire him, not just for his physique but his incredible business mind and determination.
This past weekend was the annual Mr. Olympia competition. I look forward to it every year. It is a fun and exciting time, especially at the Olympia Expo. It's like Halloween for the bodybuilding scene because you leave the show with bags full of supplements! If you're in the industry or the fitness world you know how stoked that can make you. If not then just imagine your best Halloween as a little kid where you spread your booty all over the floor and wanted to roll around in it!

But besides the tons of freebies you get there is also the opportunity to mingle with the fitness minded and to meet some of your favorite celebrity athletes and trainers.
This year I would like to touch on meeting a few people and the one that got away. What I came away with this year was that the people I took the time out to meet were incredibly generous with their time; were humble; were incredibly nice and friendly; and gave me not only sage advice but also hugs!
Those moments stick with you. It's the equivalent of having a nice experience at a hotel or restaurant v. a bad one. The reviews are going to come out every time you talk about the place, or in this instance the people.
WWE Diva Eva Maria & her husband Shredz athlete Jonathan Coyle
In this instance I have nothing but good things to say about the WWE Diva Eva Marie, her husband and fitness pro Jonathan Coyle, celebrity trainer Ashley Conrad and Amber Elizabeth Dodzweit, and 4x IFBB Figure Olympia Champion Nicole Wilkins. All of them gave me time and attention that made my day. And I'm sure some of them were exhausted from meeting so many people, especially Nicole Wilkins who had to compete the next day!
But I thank them for making my time memorable in a pleasant way. I mean I didn't even expect to be able to meet Ashley Conrad because the line at the booth was like a mile long! But she saw me standing there, actually recognized me from Facebook, and called me over! I won't ever forget that.
Amber Dodzweit and Ashley Conrad

Because there was another year that I went up to talk to figure competitor Erin Stern (yeah I'm calling her out by name!) and she was a total bitch. She wasn't in a line, she wasn't busy so I knew I wasn't bothering her, but she dismissed me like I wasn't worth talking to.
All I wanted to do was ask some advice because I admired her physique. But guess what? Now I can't stand her and I'll let everyone know about it. Bad day or not your actions reflect on your character and she was just plain rude.
And unfortunately this year another person left a bad taste in my mouth next to all the good. Sylvester Stallone was scheduled to sign autographs at one of the booths. We stood in line for over two hours waiting. He came on time to his credit but about 1/2 hour in he abruptly took off leaving a line full of disappointed fans. I don't know if there was some kind of emergency but I doubt it and I won't forget it either.
If I'm ever in a position to sign some autographs or take a picture with people who have been waiting to see me I'm going to stay there. I'm going to remember the Ashley's and the Eva's and the Nicole's and I'm going to try my best to make fans happy because you just never know how you can affect a persons life with just a few words.
4x Figure Olympia Champion Nicole Wilkins
So again I say thank you to those who took the time and really cared! You're all incredibly inspiring and I strive to better myself day-to-day thinking of you all.