Archive for January, 2014

Off to Japan: My Writer’s Packing List

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

By

Dora Machado

Japan Rail Passes

If everything goes as planned, by this time you read this, I’ll be on a plane to Japan. Even though I’ve been to Asia Minor before, this will be my first trip to Asia proper. I’m so excited!

For this trip, I’ve had to make zero planning effort. That’s because I’m teaming up with one of my all-time favorite traveling companions, travel blogger Mariana Marshall of http://marianaonthemove.com/, with whom I walked the last 100 kilometers of the Camino of Santiago de Compostela. She is also my daughter.

The advantages of tagging along with a travel blogger can’t be understated. My traveling companion carefully researched and selected the itinerary and made all of the traveling arrangements, transportation and lodging reservations. I just get to come along for the ride!

We’ll be spending some time in Tokyo and then traveling on to explore Kyoto and its environs. We’ve got a very long list, but I’m looking forward to staying at a traditional Japanese guest house (ryokan), exploring the natural hot springs (onsens), and riding Japan’s fabulous bullet trains.

Packing for Japan in the winter had me asking a lot of questions, but travel bloggers are Girl Scouts at heart, and mine found this awesome packing list from a fellow blogger:  http://herpackinglist.com/2012/12/ultimate-female-packing-list-japan-winter/.

My writer’s packing list must, of course, include my computer, tablet and cell phone. We don’t speak the language, so we’ve uploaded some interesting apps that might help if all else fails. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Technology is a wonderful convenience, but I’ve learned that, when traveling, it isn’t always reliable. So in addition, I’m bringing a good, small, old-fashioned notebook to jot down my thoughts and observations, a few good pens, and my camera, all indispensable tools that will work with or without an Internet connection, and that are suitable to all environments.

But the most important elements for a successful trip are stowed not in my suitcase, but rather in my mind. They include flexibility, openness and imagination. Flexibility is key when traveling, the ability to roll with the punches, accept, adapt and adjust to the changes intrinsic to the traveling experience. From airports to hotels, from technology to people, traveling exposes us to new situations that test our comfort levels and push our boundaries.

An open mind is also vital to the traveling experience. It allows us to see the world for what it is, not for what we think it should be. It also teaches us to value the differences that make each place unique and each culture extraordinary.

And finally, I bring along my number-one writing tool, my imagination, to take in the sights, sounds, smells and tastes that I’ve never experienced before, to relish the emotions of the journey, to collect the odd, the common and the spectacular, to understand and process the experience of being human. For a gal into world building, the traveling experience is a rich trove indeed.

So, wish me luck.

Sayonara, kids!

Japan bound

Colorado Is For Writers

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Hello Everybody,

I just got back from beautiful Colorado. Here’s a post I wrote about my writing experience in the Rocky Mountains.

Enjoy!

D.

Copper Mountain, top of Union Peak, December 26 2013

Colorado has to be one of my favorite places in the world. The views of the Rocky Mountains are breathtaking. The people are friendly, fit and youthful, no matter their age. Nature indulges, facilitating so many of the activities for which the State is known, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, biking, hiking, fly-fishing, rafting and . . .  writing?

Yes, writing.

It’s easy to find inspiration among these mountains. It’s easy to keep the mind focused when surrounded by such stunning vistas. I find myself energized by the folks who tackled the slopes with the same energy and enthusiasm I feel when I tackle a story. It goes against the principles of oxygen deprivation, but I find that the mind flows effortlessly at ten thousand feet, especially after a few hours of skiing or snowshoeing, and a little nap.

Skiing

We’ve had some epic snow dumps so far this year and the snow has been delicious. Those of us who frequent Copper Mountain, Colorado, on a regular basis, couldn’t be happier. I heard a few people complaining about the cold weather this year, but I’m not one of them. When the going gets tough on the mountain, when the wind picks up and you can’t see the chair lift in front of you, I head indoors. The way I see it, it’s time for some serious writing.

I’ve produced some of my best writing in Colorado. These mountains have inspired thousands of words out of me. I’m always grateful for the opportunity to come out to Colorado and share in the state of mind that makes it such a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts and, yes, for writers too.

Copper Mountain, Dec 26 2013

An Interview with Dora Machado

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Hello Everybody!

This Interview appeared today on From Pages to Pages.

Enjoy!

D.

Hi Dora. Do you read much, and if so, who are your favorite authors?

I love to read and I wish I had time to read even more. As a young woman growing up in the Dominican Republic, I was exposed to many different influences.  Books such as A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosas, and theHouse of the Spirits by Isabel Allende left lasting impressions. In fantasy, I’m always dazzled by J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen Donaldson, Frank Herbert, Robert Jordan, and George R.R. Martin. I also like Diana Gabaldon, Colleen McCullough, Bernard Cornwell and Anne Rice.

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books?

I don’t strive to preach any kind of morality in my stories, but I do write a lot about conflicting situations, injustice, opposing beliefs, and the meaning of concepts such as truth, faith and prejudice. Sometimes, the storyline leaves me and my readers thinking about things. For example, in The Curse Giver we join with the characters as they discover how reason, knowledge and awareness are the main components of our personal sense of strength. We don’t have to be magical to be strong. We just have to believe in ourselves.

Have you developed a specific writing style?

I like sentences that flow and paragraphs that sing. I enjoy a lyrical style coupled with an engaging, irresistible story.

What is your greatest strength as a writer?

I love writing clever plots and deep characters involved in meaningful relationships. Friendships, rivalries and romance are indispensable to my novels. But by far, my biggest strength as a writer has to do with the passion that I bring to the craft and the story.

Why did you choose the fantasy genre?

I love the creative freedom that the fantasy genre offers, the opportunity to explore our attitudes, prejudices and preferences against the background of new and diverse worlds. I particularly enjoy exploring relationships and beliefs in the fantasy genre, testing humanity’s enduring questions and building up my worlds and adventures with history’s rich offerings. Add a meaningful, blazing romance to all of the above and you have a novel that is as fun to write as it is to read.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book, then choose the title?

I usually discover the title of my novels at the very moment when I write it for the first time into the story. It can happen early on, during the opening paragraph or late in the process. It’s really neat. It’s always a “wow” moment.

Have you ever used anyone from your real life encounters in any of your books?

I’ve never consciously set out to model one of my characters after anyone in particular. On the other hand, I’m sure I’ve used all of my life experiences and observations to construct my worlds and conceive my characters. In that sense, everything I do, every place I go and everyone I’ve met has somehow contributed to my stories.

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

I quit on my boss, waited until the kids were old enough to fend for themselves, and wrote at night, and I mean, really late at night. To this day, I typically wait for everyone to go to bed before I start writing and then write through most of the night. Call it life avoidance, but the phone doesn’t ring late at night and everyone else is asleep. I’ll admit that my strategy prevents me from ever becoming a morning person, but hey, we can’t all be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed first thing in the morning.

If you had the chance to change something regarding how you got published, what would you change?

Oh, my gosh! That’s a really good question! Hmm. Let me think. I would have gone for it a lot earlier. Yes, I think that’s it. Had I had the chance to change something at the very beginning, I would have shaken off all my misgivings and started on this journey a lot sooner.

How are you promoting The Curse Giver thus far?

In many ways, including traditional means but also social media, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, print and radio interviews, and also virtual book tours like this one, which are brand new to me but incredibly interesting and far-reaching.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself?

Skepticism. I loathe it and yet I value it. It keeps the mind sharp and the heart pumping.

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

If you are truly a writer, write! Write like the wind—this is actually the title of a writing series by my friend Aaron Paul Lazar—write as much as you can, whenever you can, however you can. Only by writing will you perfect your skills, polish your stories and develop the grit necessary to pursuit a path towards publication. And only by writing can you fulfill the need to tell your stories.

What’s next for you?

I have several different projects going, including a contemporary dark fantasy with a Latin twist that has been really fun to write and The Soul Chaser, a companion novel to The Curse Giver.

What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?

To learn more about me and my novels, visit my website at www.doramachado.com or contact me atDora@doramachado.com. You can also subscribe to my blog at http://www.doramachado.com/blog/, sign up for my newsletter at http://doramachado.com/newsletter.php, or find me on Facebook andTwitter. For a free excerpt of The Curse Giver, visit http://twilighttimesbooks.com/TheCurseGiver_ch1.html.

Curse Giver

Lusielle’s bleak but orderly life as a remedy mixer is shattered when she is sentenced to die for a crime she didn’t commit. She’s on the pyre, about to be burned, when a stranger breaks through the crowd and rescues her from the flames. Brennus, Lord of Laonia is the last of his line. He is caught in the grip of a mysterious curse that has murdered his kin, doomed his people and embittered his life. To defeat the curse, he must hunt a birthmark and kill the woman who bears it in the foulest of ways. Lusielle bears such a mark. Stalked by intrigue and confounded by the forbidden passion flaring between them, predator and prey must come together to defeat not only the vile curse, but also the curse giver who has already conjured their demise.

Award-Winning Finalist in the fantasy category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards, sponsored by USA Book News

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Fantasy/Dark Fantasy

Rating – PG-18

More details about the author

Connect with Dora Machado on FacebookTwitter

Website http://www.doramachado.com/

http://frompages2pages.blogspot.com/2014/01/author-interview-dora-machado.html