The Silence of Writing

June 13th, 2016

Thank you for stopping by my blog. If you follow me, you know it’s been quiet in here. That’s because I’m super busy, writing.  Writing is a silent pursuit. The louder the silence, the more intense the author is at work. I’m working hard on my next installment, and I find it really hard to interrupt my creative process. But more is coming. I promise.

Meanwhile, I’d like to thank all of you who’ve made The Curse Giver such an astounding success. With over 170 awesome reviews on Amazon, I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you so much for choosing to read and review my novels. I really appreciate your support.



Three Questions for Mayra Calvani

February 1st, 2016


Hello everyone!

Can you believe it’s already February? How time flies when you’re having fun! I’m so pleased to have Mayra Calvani visiting with us today. Her latest book, Latina Authors & Their Muses is a breakthrough exploration of the writing craft and the ways in which authors find their inspiration and channel their creativity. I’m so very excited to be a tiny part of her visionary project. I hope you’ll enjoy meeting the talented Mayra Calvani as much as I enjoyed speaking with her.


Hello Mayra and thanks for visiting with us. Congratulations on your latest book, Latina Authors & Their Muses. What is it about and why did you decide to write it?

Thanks for having me on your blog, Dora! Latina Authors and Their Muses is a very dear, love project of mine which began its long journey several years ago. As you know, since you’re part of it, it is an anthology of interviews with 40 Latina authors living in the States and writing primarily in English, authors writing in various genres from literary to fantasy to paranormal to romance, and then some. It is a celebration of creativity and the artist’s soul, but it also offers savvy advice on the business of publishing and book promotion. I hope that my book will serve to inspire and inform the Latina authors of the future. One thing I should mention, though, is that while the book is especially focused on Latina writers, the topics discussed are of interest to all women writers.

I was inspired by another collection of interviews edited by a person I deeply admire and once had the chance to invite to my house for dinner: Carmen Dolores Hernández, book review editor of El Nuevo Día newspaper in Puerto Rico. The book is titled Puerto Rican Voices in English. Carmen sent me a copy and I loved reading about the various authors. I immediately toyed with the idea of putting together a similar tome. This was way back in 2005.


How many authors did you interview and what kind of questions did you ask?

As I mentioned, I interviewed 40 Latina authors writing in different genres and in different stages of their careers, from new writers with a debut novel to established, well-known names with a long track record. I was particularly interested in their childhoods and what events or people were influential in them becoming authors. I was also especially interested in what it means to be a “professional” or “successful” author and the part money plays in this equation. There are also questions about the creative process, craft, balancing writing with life, the psychology of writing (the “price” we have to pay for being artists, isolation, and guilt), their books, agents, publishers, and book promotion.

The book is also a chock-full of resources in terms of organizations, award competitions, agents, journals and publications catering to not only Hispanic authors but also authors in general.

What did you discover about Latina Authors and their muses? What surprised you?


I was surprised by how different the journey has been for each author. For some, finding an agent and getting published by one of the big NY houses was fairly quick and easy. For others, it has taken many years.

We all love the romantic notion of a Muse but, at the end, it’s all about commitment, determination, persistence, relentless passion, and hard work that makes most authors succeed. I was inspired, and humbly impressed by this remarkable group of women who’ve become, in fact, my Muses.

Thank you so much for sharing this extraordinary journey with us, Mayra. And thanks again for allowing me to be a small part of this grand, visionary project.

Thank you for this opportunity, Dora! I truly appreciate it!


About Mayra Calvani



Mayra Calvani and her cat (2)

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. In addition, she’s a regular contributor to and She’s traveled extensively and lived in three continents, but now calls Belgium her home. When she’s not writing, reading, editing or reviewing, she enjoys walking her dog, traveling, and spending time with her family.
LatinaAuthors_med1Amazon Link

Happy Holidays!

December 23rd, 2015

Xmas greeting 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26th, 2015

Happy Thanks Giving

Best wishes for a happy holiday!


Back from Africa

October 5th, 2015

My trip to Africa was AMAZING. True, it’s a long trek halfway across the world, and air travel is not getting any easier, but once we hit the ground, the sacrifices to get there were worth it. We landed in Arusha and, over the course of several days, travelled overland to Arusha National Park, the fabled Ngorongoro Crater and the legendary Serengeti. From the Serengeti, we flew east across Tanzania to the island of Zanzibar, where we stayed for a couple of days before we returned to the continent, to Saadani National Park. From Saadani we drove to Dar es Salaam right before we flew back to the United States. I could write a novel about our trip, and maybe someday, I will. But today, I’ll just share the highlights and some of my favorite photos.

Tanzania is an incredible destination, and our itinerary ensured that we were exposed to the best wildlife viewing a safari can offer, along with an excellent snapshot of the culture and history of this beautiful country. We usually prefer to travel on our own but, for this trip, we chose to travel with Smithsonian Journeys. It was the best choice we could’ve made and it provided us with comfortable transportation that took away the logistical headaches involved with complex traveling and freed us to enjoy our trip.

All of the lodges and hotels we stayed in were full of character and especially well located to our activities. The food during the entire trip was excellent. The Serena lodges at Ngorongoro and Serengeti offered breathtaking views of the crater and the plains respectively. The African Tulip in Arusha and the Serena at Zanzibar were particularly responsive to our needs, with very personable staff. The Saadani River Lodge offered stunning accommodations right on the Wami River and exquisitely trained and friendly staff.

Special thanks and kudos to the drivers who navigated us through the bumpy roads on the Ngonogoro Crater and the Serengeti, especially to Mr. Godson, who drove the Land Rover I rode in. A loud shout out to our tour director, Malley Simon for anticipating all of our needs and taking the work out of traveling. Our study leader, Grant Nels enriched our traveling experience, sharing a wealth of knowledge and a gift for story-telling that infused us with his passion for Africa and left us wanting for more. I can’t imagine what it’s like to travel with someone as curious as I am, firing questions all the time—annoying, right?—but Grant was generous, sharing his extensive, impressive knowledge with us and answering my millions of questions with patience, grace and enthusiasm.


If you crave the outdoors and you enjoy wildlife viewing, put Tanzania at the top of your list.


Here are a few of my favorite pictures of this amazing trip:


Baby elephant at the Ngorongoro Crater


Giraffes at Arusha National Park, amazing how they blend into the hill!


Cheetah on the prowl at the Serengeti.

Cheetah on the prowl at the Serengeti.


A majestic Baobab at Saadani National Park

A majestic Baobab at Saadani National Park.


A mirage of giraffes on the way to the Serengeti.

A mirage of giraffes on the way to the Serengeti.


Cape Buffalo drinking water from our hotel's pool.

Cape Buffalo drinking water from our hotel’s pool.


Hippo in the water at the Ngorongoro Crater.

Hippo in the water at the Ngorongoro Crater.


Jaguar stretching after a nap at the Serengeti.

Jaguar stretching after a nap at the Serengeti.


Lion, king of the crater.

Lion, king of the crater.


Lion, sleeping in the crater. Yep, that's what lions really do all day.

Lion, sleeping in the crater. Yep, that’s what lions really do all day.


Lioness, eyeing dinner at the crater.

Lioness, eyeing dinner at the crater.


Massai Boma on the way to the Serengeti.

Massai Boma on the way to the Serengeti.

Garden of Eden at the crater.

Garden of Eden at the crater.


Massai dance women and I

My Massai friends and I.


Fiery sunset over the Serengeti.

Fiery sunset over the Serengeti.


On the Way to Africa

August 18th, 2015

Tanzania Duffle


All my bags and packed and I’m ready to go. Remember that old song? Well, that’s me at the moment, except we’re only talking about one very small bag, a twenty-five pound duffle to be precise, a challenge for a gal who likes to travel with a five-pound hair dryer. The hair dryer is staying home, but the laptop is coming, so there might be an occasional post/picture/update on FB or Twitter, should I find reliable Internet along the way.

We leave tomorrow for Tanzania, where we’ll be visiting the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, Saadani, and Zanzibar, all places that figure high on my bucket list. I’m looking forward to exploring the legendary “cradle of mankind” and learning more about the people of Tanzania, said to be warm, hospitable, kind and gracious, including the Maasai people, a culture that has always fascinated me.

I’m especially excited about experiencing the wildlife of Tanzania’s most famous national parks and getting to see these magnificent animals in their natural habitats. If we get lucky, we might even get to see some of the wildebeest migration. I hope I get some great pictures to share with all of you. I’m going to Africa with a sense of wonderment and an open heart. I feel so lucky that I finally get to explore this part of the world. And if along the way I get a few moments to refresh my Hemingway under the shade of Kilimanjaro, well, that would just be another dream come true.

Wish me luck!



Tampa Comic Con 2015 and Lots of Pictures

August 4th, 2015




Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015 TTB Authors


The rain, and the flooding that came with it, did not damper the spirits of over 55,000 folks who purchased tickets to attend Tampa Bay Comic Con. The place was packed, especially Saturday and Sunday, an exuberant celebration of the fantasy genre in all of its manifestations, comic books, video games, books, movies, TV shows, art and illustration.

But it is truly the people that make the con. Tampa Bay’s best and brightest showed up. I loved watching the awesome costumes that filled the exhibit hall. The convention center looked like some intergalactic hub teeming with the inhabitants of a million worlds, coming together to celebrate the human imagination. Characters were everywhere, some familiar, some truly original.

I honestly believe there’s a connection between creative energy, imagination and intelligence. Fantasy lovers include some of the smartest people I know. You could feel the excitement and creativity vibrating in the air, applied brainpower fueling the imagination, and the future, cloaked in the guise of pure fun.

The author panels are always my favorite part of the con and this year they were awesome. I sat on four panels, along with my fellow authors Scott Eder, Maria DeVivo and Tracy Akers. We had a fantastic time talking about the fundamentals of writing fantasy, what girls want in their fantasy, world settings and villains. The best part? We got to meet so many talented folks!
I love the diversity of the crowd that attended the panels. People of all ages and different backgrounds came together to share a passion for fantasy. I particularly enjoyed talking to writers and aspiring writers about their projects and dreams. Writing is a challenging craft, but when a whole lot of us get together to figure it out, we are an unstoppable force.

We did a panel called “So…do you want to be a writer?” It was standing room only. The energy of the crowd was incredible. I swear, from my seat on the podium, I could see the ideas zipping through the room like glowing fireflies. My only regret is that we ran out of time before we could answer everyone’s questions. But hey, we’re always around, available through email, FB, and Twitter, to share our journeys with our fellow writers.

And to all my new writer friends, to those of you who dream of sharing your stories with the world, don’t forget: Keep writing and may the joy of the craft always sustain you.



The official TTB Tampa Comic Con 2015 picture


Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015 TTB Authors having fun

The fun behind the scene picture

Panels Tampa Bay Con 2015

Authors Scott Eder, Tracy Akers, Dora Machado and Maria DeVivo participate in one of several panels

Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015 Panel 1

We had so much fun talking about writing and meeting lots of interesting and talented folks

Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015 well attended panelsThe panels were always well attended

Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015 well attended panels 2

More panels. Interesting things happen when writers and fantasy lovers get together

Display Table at Tampa Bay Con 2015

My novels on display at the Twilight Times Books table in the exhibit hall


Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015 Batman and the Joker

Fun at Comic Con: The Joker and Batman

Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015 Small and big monsters

Big scary monsters vs.  little cute monsters

Tampa Bay Comic Con Games of thrones

One of my favorite costumes of the weekend: Game of Thrones down to the attitude

Tampa Bay Con 2015

Another Favorite: Carmen San Diego and Waldo, found

Comic Con Three Authors

Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015

July 20th, 2015

Hello everyone,

We had such fun last year at Tampa Bay Comic Con that we decided to go back. So yours truly, along with fellow Twilight Times Books authors Scott Eder and Maria DeVivo, will return to the Tampa Convention Center and join in this fun and exuberant celebration of fantasy in all of its forms. Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015 runs all weekend from Friday, July 31, to Sunday, August 2. Join us during our author discussion panels as scheduled below and stop by the Twilight Times Books Booth at Artist Alley E19/E20 and say hi. We’d love to see you there.


Tampa Bay Comic Con – July 31-August 2, 2015

Comic Con 2015

Authors Panel Schedule

Comic Con Schedule

Comic Con Three Authors

For information and tickets click here.

Memorial Day

May 25th, 2015




Hello Everybody,

On Memorial Day we honor and celebrate the lives of our military heroes who died to protect our freedoms. They are at the heart of all of our stories, the inspiration for all of our heroes. And so, today, we remember them with respect and gratitude.



Memorial Day


“In simple obedience to duty as they understood it,” reads the inscription at Arlington’s Confederate Memorial. “These men suffered all, sacrificed all, dared all — and died.”…/one-thing-veterans-want-yo…/ar-BBkdinr…

Seven Things that People Might or Might Not Know About My writing

April 28th, 2015



My writer friend Aaron Paul Lazar tagged me on FB to share seven things that people might or might not know about my writing. I thought I would share them with you on my blog as well. Here we go:

1. I keep vampire hours. Dawn means dusk and dusk means writing.
2. I have a minor in medieval history and thus medieval history has a place in all my novels.
3. I love reading all kinds of genres and I believe that variety enriches the writer’s life.
4. I’m a news junkie and, believe it or not, the real world fuels my fantasy.
5. The only activity I enjoy almost as much as writing is traveling. To me they’re both different ways of exploring the world.
6. My supervisor has whiskers, pointy ears and a tail. Yep, that’s a picture of her at the top.
7. My husband likes to think that all my epic heroes are based on him and, some days, I let him believe it.


Happy face

Have a great day! D.