Posts Tagged ‘Author interview’

My Interview with Karen Swart

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Hi Folks,

Here’s my brand new interview with South African paranormal and urban fantasy author, Karen Swart, where she asked me all kinds of interesting questions, including whether my books had a hidden message. You know what? I had to think about that one.

Enjoy!

D.

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Hi Dora! Did you always wanted to be a writer?

Hi Karen. Yes! I’ve wanted to be a writers since as far back as I can remember.

When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?

Good question! I think I only began to call myself a writer after my first book, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, was published.

How long did it take to get your first book published?

About a year from beginning to end. It felt like a century!

Do you do another job except for writing?

Not anymore! These days I’m lucky enough to write full time and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in fewer than 20 words what would you say?

My latest book is called The Curse Giver. Twenty words, eh? Why, let’s give the old logline a try: An innocent healer condemned to death must ally with the cursed lord pledged to kill her to defeat the curse giver who has already conjured their ends.

Who is your publisher?

I’m a very lucky gal. The Curse Giver was published by Twilight Times Books, an independent publisher based out of Kingsport, Tennessee, that specializes in publishingcritically acclaimed literary, mystery and SF/F books. A dynamic, top-of-the-line, quality-oriented publisher, TTB has more than 140 titles in the 2013 Spring Catalogue and is the home of a talented and friendly bunch of authors who have enriched my publishing experience. Check out TTB at http://twilighttimesbooks.com/

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?

It takes me about four months, give or take a little. Keep in mind that the time invested is not always consecutive when you are working on a novel. Sometimes I’ll advance one project and then shift to another novel, before going back to complete the first one.

What can we expect from you in the future? More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?

You can expect more stories from me in the future, more dark fantasy romance, a dark contemporary fantasy with a Latin twist, and more about the world of The Curse Giver in its companion novel, The Soul Chaser.

What genre would you place your books into?

The Curse Giver falls into the fantasy genre and fits well in the subcategories of epic fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy romance and romantic fantasy.

What made you decide to write that genre of book?

I’ve always been intrigued by the fantasy genre. I love the genre’s creative freedom, the opportunity to rethink, redesign and reinterpret the human experience, the creative challenges that that arise from world building, and the mysteries that magic brings to the human equation. I grew up in the Dominican Republic and my life always felt kind of magical in many ways. I’ve always straddled different worlds. Fantasy is a perfect fit for me.

Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?

I do. I think it’s a tossup between the main characters, Bren and Lusielle. I’ve always been a sucker for the underdog, the reluctant hero and the tortured soul. In The Curse Giver, Bren, Lord of Laonia, is all of those. He’s got the makings of a hero, but his circumstances make him an outcast and a villain in his own mind. He is weary, bitter and troubled, but he’s also dutiful and determined, and he will not betray his people. As the story begins, he rescues Lusielle from the pyre, but only because he’s hunting a birthmark she bears. To defeat the curse that has obliterated his family and is killing him, he has to murder the woman who bears the birthmark in the foulest possible way. But as he escapes with his prey in tow, she is not what he expected. He faces yet another dismal choice: Can he murder the only woman capable of healing more than his body, his soul?

Lusielle is also one of my favorite characters in The Curse Giver, but for a totally different reason. When the story begins, she’s been betrayed by her greedy husband and condemned to die for a crime she didn’t commit. After years of abuse and slavery, the false accusations destroy her bleak but orderly world. As she flees with the bitter lord who has rescued her, she finds herself in an impossible situation: If she’s going to survive, she must help the mysterious lord who is determined to kill her to defeat the curse giver who has already conjured their ends. What I like most about Lusielle is that she has to change; she has to muster the courage to free herself from her tragic past and find the strength within to thrive in a world she doesn’t understand.

How long have you been writing? And who or what inspired you to write?

I’ve been writing for publication for about seven years now. I’m inspired to write by many people and many experiences, but ultimately, I write because I can’t stop writing. I swear. I’ve tried. I just can’t. My mind is powered by this story generator that keeps on going and won’t quit.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? Do you listen to music, sit in a certain chair…?

I’m one of those people who prefer to write in silence. I guess my mind is way too noisy as it is! I have a writing studio in my home, a cozy little room that opens up to a veranda that overlooks a beautiful, spring-fed river. It’s quiet and peaceful, and it’s my favorite place to write. I like to sit on my favorite chair, a Scandinavian ergonomic design that offers excellent support for the long hours of writing.

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.

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals such as those in Aesop’s Fables: “The moral of this story is..”)

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.

Which format of book do you prefer, e-book, hardback, or paperback?

I’m partial to the indestructible, beach-proof, throw-it-in-your-bag, good old-fashioned paperback. I love the feel of a book between my hands. But I will confess—albeit reluctantly—that my latest e-reader has been growing on me. The idea that I can carry ALL of my favorite books around in my purse is irresistible.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is your favorite/worst book-to-movie transfer?

I think that books and movies are two different and distinct media. I usually approach them with different expectations. What makes a book great is not the same thing that will work for a movie. The translation is particularly challenging for science fiction and fantasy. There are an awful lot of great SF/F books that have been made into terrible movies. I used to say that I never wanted to see my books made into movies. That is, until I watched George R. Martin’s Game of Thrones on HBO. It might be time to rethink the old prejudices. . . .

Your favorite food is?

Cake. I know. Not a good one. I like carrots too. Does that help?

Your favorite singer/group is?

That would be a long list!

Your favorite color is?

Blue.

Remember to check out today’s spotlight to find out more about Dora and The Curse Giver.

http://authorkarenswart.blogspot.com/

http://authorkarenswart.blogspot.com/2013/10/book-blitz-curse-giver-by-dora-machado.html

Why Texting is a Tool of the Devil and Proofreading Your work Matters . . . A lot!

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Part Two of my Interview with Proofreader Extraordinaire Linda Au

By

Dora Machado

Please allow me to reintroduce my friend and proofreader extraordinaire, Linda Au, who shared her insights with us on my previous blog post, regarding the ins and outs of her profession and why an author wants a little OCD in his or her proofreader. With an incredible eye for detail, a questioning approach and an uncanny ability to find even the most cryptic of errors, Linda is an incredible asset to every project she tackles. I know. I’ve worked with her many times and benefited from her professional OCD, which as we’ve learned, doesn’t always extend to all other parts of her life, like cleaning the house.

In the second part of my interview with Linda, we tackle some of the hottest issues facing authors today. As the writing world changes and publishing gets both simpler and also more complicated, Linda shares her thoughts on what’s the real current state of spelling in the  world and why proofreading matters . . . more than ever!

Enjoy!

D.

Welcome back, Linda. Writers today face so many hurdles and expenses. Why should having a manuscript professionally proofed be a priority?

In this rapidly evolving publishing world, everyone can call themselves writers by simply typing in a Word document, finishing with “The End,” and uploading it to Kindle Direct Publishing. Bingo! You’re published. Offer your “book” for free and you might even skyrocket to an impressive sales ranking for the day. But you’ll soon realize that even readers who download e-books that didn’t cost them a dime have standards. Their time is worth something. The general reading public is a lot smarter than the general writer-wannabe gives them credit for. They might download your first freebie book, but if it’s riddled with errors, typos, and bad formatting, they won’t care how good the story is (if it’s any good—and you can bet I’m skeptical about that). They won’t bother to download your second one.

The publishing slush pile used to be on the publisher’s desk. Then it moved to the agent’s desk. Now the whole slush pile is right out there for sale on Amazon.com. How can a serious writer stand out with all that competition? I’m convinced that what’s going to separate the men from the boys in the new publishing world is professionalism. Good writing. Good content editing. Good typesetting for print books and formatting for e-books. Good copy editing and proofreading.

By the way, as a side note: I am sometimes vexed that readers expect e-books to all be free or ridiculously cheap. A good, professional book still costs money to produce. The writer, editor, copy editor, publisher, and proofreader all still charge money for their services (and it’s a lot less than you think it is—none of us are retiring to the Caribbean any time soon). The only cost savings with e-books are with actual physical production: printing, binding, distribution. So yes, e-books should be cheaper, but good stories still cost money.

You are a writer too. What kinds of books do you write? Do you proofread your own books?

The two books I have out now are collections of humor essays, written under my maiden name/pen name of Linda M. Au. Although the essays are fun to write, switching gears and being funny in so many different little “stories” can feel burdensome when I’m putting one of the humor books together. I’m collecting ideas and essays for a third book, but I’ve got no personal deadline for it. Next up instead are a few of my NaNoWriMo novels, some of which have won awards (in whole or in part). Fiction is really my first love.

And yes, I do proofread my own books. (I also typeset them.) But I also run them through beta readers when they get close to being finished. That’s as much for content as for spelling and error-checks. Any problem a beta reader can point out helps me be better. I often cringe if it’s a typo or a missing word, of course, since that’s been my bread and butter for decades, but I’m relieved they’ve helped me be as good as I can be when I go to print.

What’s the hardest thing about working with writers?

The extremes in my clientele. It’s tough to have two very different clients at the same time. For instance, one writer might think she’s being helpful by throwing all sorts of formatting into her Word document manuscript, treating it almost like a layout program (which it’s not), or by learning just enough publishing jargon to be dangerous. Manuscript formatting has to be basic, especially if the next step is page layout or e-book formatting, both of which do not play nicely with overly formatted Word documents.

At the other extreme is the writer who still doesn’t seem to care if he or she spells words right or punctuates sentences properly. I’m not talking about a writer who struggles with these issues—I can appreciate the struggle and I really love helping such writers. But I don’t have a lot of tolerance for writers who insist that they are too busy being “creative” to learn the boring, nitpicky details of how to punctuate or spell. To me, that would be like a carpenter saying he’s too busy trying to create a beautiful rocking chair to learn how to use a hammer and saw.

If you’re a writer, words and grammar and punctuation are your tools. You need to learn to use them properly if you want to be taken seriously. And, I guarantee you that, once you learn these things, the creativity will still be there. In fact, it will be freed up and much more accessible to your readers because the mechanics will have become second nature.

In your opinion, what’s the current state of spelling in the world?

I think texting is a tool of the devil.

Seriously, I think that text-messaging has its place but has greatly reduced the regard for spelling conventions. I do writing coach work for eighth graders, and I see a lot of them slipping into text-messaging language in their essays: “ur” or “u” … stuff like that. They don’t even realize they’ve done it until I point it out.

I realize that language is fluid, and it’s a living thing, blah blah blah. But, there’s a big difference between language changing for practical reasons (such as “Google” becoming a verb) and language changing because too many people got lazy and misspelled a word or phrase for so long that the powers that be gave up (such as “alright” instead of “all right” slowly becoming more acceptable, though it’s not actually correct yet). Language changes that come from a lazy, uneducated populace bother me. It’s not quite the downfall of civilization, but I bet every civilization that fell had already started mistaking “its” for “it’s.”

Why will proofreading matter in the future?

As indie publishing/self-publishing becomes the norm (and it’s careening headlong in that direction already), what’s going to set the professionals apart will be their continued attention to detail and their pride in their work. And that has to include the use of the language. Not just pretty words, but properly spelled, properly punctuated pretty words. After all, writers are selling their ideas, expressed through their words. Why wouldn’t they want them to go out into the world as polished as they can be?

What’s your best proofreading advice for authors everywhere?

If you have to get yourself a grammar textbook or a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style, do it. If your first experience with a proofreader turned up ongoing issues and concerns—words you habitually spell incorrectly or grammar or punctuation issues you still don’t get right—then study and learn. It’s difficult to learn creativity or imagination, but it’s relatively easy to learn grammar and punctuation.

But never think that referring to a textbook can replace actual proofreading. Your own eyes are too forgiving of those words you missed or misspelled. Someone else’s objective eyes just may catch them … and you’ll be a better writer for it.

Language is your only tool as a writer. Learn to use it properly, and you can write anything well.

Thank you so much for this interview, Linda. I really appreciate everything that you’ve shared with us. I had a lot of fun talking to you.

***

Linda’s short humor essays have garnered numerous awards. Two books of her humor essays, Head in the Sand…and other unpopular positions and Fork in the Road … and other pointless discussions, are currently available on Amazon.com and BN.com.

Linda has worked behind the scenes in publishing as a proofreader, copy editor, and typesetter since the late 1980s. She has worked with many independent authors, as well as publishers such as Carroll & Graf, Shoemaker & Hoard, Crown & Covenant Publications, Christian Publications (now WingSpread/Zur), Pegasus Books, and F+W Publications.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Linda-M-Au/119278508108217

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaMAu

Blog/Web site: The Other Side of the Desk

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/austruck/

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Dora Machado is the award winning author of the epic fantasy Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, available from Twilight Times Books. She grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a fascination for writing and a taste for Merengue. After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She lives in Florida with her husband and three very opinionated cats.

To learn more about Dora Machado and her novels, visit her website at www.doramachado.com or contact her at Dora@doramachado.com.

Subscribe to her blog at http://www.doramachado.com/blog/ and sign up for her at newsletter at http://doramachado.com/newsletter.php,

Facebook and Twitter.

For a free excerpt of The Curse Giver, visit  http://twilighttimesbooks.com/TheCurseGiver_ch1.html.

The Curse Giver from Amazon

Amazon: : http://amzn.to/13oVu2P

What a Proofreader Can Do for You and Why OCD has a Role in the Profession

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

An Interview with Proofreader Extraordinaire Linda Au

By

Dora Machado

Linda Au has the distinction of being one of the funniest proofreaders in the business. I mean it. She divides her time between her passions, advancing the cause of clean writing and spotless manuscripts while also writing hilarious fiction. Over the years, she and I have worked on many projects together. She has always impressed me with her eye for detail and her uncanny ability to find even the most cryptic of errors, mistakes that often evade authors altogether, despite our  best efforts.

As the writing world changes and publishing gets both simpler and also more complicated, I wanted to get Linda’s take on the impact of her profession. Below is the first part of my two-part interview with Linda, where we talk about what she does and how she does it, the most common mistakes she finds when proofreading manuscripts, and why a touch of OCD might be a very desirable quality in a proofreader.

Enjoy!

D.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your background and how did you get started in the business of proofreading?

Should I mention that I have in my office a spelling trophy I got in fifth grade? That should have been the first tip-off that I was doomed to this life forever.

I realized I was good at proofreading while working as a secretary in a small publishing office in 1987. The editor asked me to look over a printout of that month’s issue to see if I could find any mistakes, and I handed back pages full of red ink. I’m still proofreading that magazine every month, in addition to work I do for various publishers and independent authors. My philosophy, strangely enough, is more like a theology. I rely on the doctrine of Original Sin. That’s how I know I’ll always have work. When I get a manuscript or book layout, I already know there are errors because nobody’s perfect. My job is to find those errors.

A good healthy dose of “Question everything” goes a long way, too.

What exactly do you do when you get a hold of a manuscript?

I grab a hard copy of one of my job sheets (something I created in PageMaker years ago to keep track of my hours, back when everything was hard copy), and I scribble all the details of the job on it: deadlines, special instructions, etc. I also add the project to my gargantuan white board. Then I look it over to make sure I don’t have any questions for the author, such as, “Why won’t this file open?” or “Why did you send me a file set completely in Brush Script?” or “You want this when?”

I keep a style sheet on the back of each job sheet—it’s where I jot down any author preferences I pick up along the way: Are we formatting this as “OK” or “okay”? Does the author prefer “toward” or “towards”? Those are things that don’t have a set grammar or spelling rule. It’s not hard to remember them individually, but once I’m working on multiple projects, it’s essential to keep track of what each author prefers.

These days, “digging right in” means either digital scribbling on a PDF or using Track Changes on a Word document. I leave that choice up to the author. Track Changes can look strange if you’re not used to it, though it saves an author time because there are no individual changes to input. PDF scribbles look a lot like hard copy used to: red arrows everywhere, notes in the margins. I even use rainbow color-coding for ongoing issues.

One helpful tip for those who use white boards: If you’re having trouble erasing a project from your white board—and you definitely used the dry erase markers—that means you’re WAY past your deadline.

What are the most common mistakes you find when proofreading novels?

I’m constantly surprised at how few writers really know the basics of punctuation and formatting. Quotation marks and dialogue seem to be a real sticking point. Also, I still encounter authors who don’t seem to like fact-checking. For instance, one novel had a scene set in the 1970s where the main character played a song on a CD player, long before CD players were in use. I might have expected this from a young writer, but this man was a multi-published author who’d been around for decades.

Beyond that, the big errors are the typical ones: they’re/their/there and to/too/two, loose/lose, your/you’re…. And sadly, those sorts of casual errors are way more common than they used to be.

What do you like the most about your job?

Aside from being an introverted night owl who can set her own hours and doesn’t have to interact with people around a water cooler, I get a strange kick out of getting a manuscript from an author who assures me it’s “really pretty clean already,” and then finding a lot of things wrong. The author’s gratitude (after he or she gets over the shock) is great feedback for someone whose work is essentially solitary and can feel perpetually negative. Don’t get me wrong: A lot of the authors I work with do send me tidy manuscripts, especially if they’ve worked with me before. But no writer should hand anything to a proofreader and mention that there aren’t any mistakes. You’re asking for trouble—and a huge dose of snarkiness if you keep mentioning it.

And, because I find words so powerful, and so essential, I enjoy helping people polish their words so that they communicate as clearly as they can. There’s nothing quite like the frustration of being misunderstood because you haven’t expressed yourself well. I like to think I help people avoid some of that.

What are the most important qualities that a writer should look for in a proofreader?

A writer needs someone who is easy to communicate with, someone who can clearly explain the reasons for any suggested changes, someone who can roll with the punches (and there will be punches). Despite having definite opinions about what’s right and wrong in print, I also know that the author (or publisher/editor if I’m working with a company) has the final say. My corrections are sometimes just suggestions, and I have to let it go if they decide not to incorporate some of my scribbles.

It also helps if a proofreader knows as much as possible about the changing trends in publishing. There’s a big difference between someone who can eagle-eye a manuscript and someone who can also nitpick a complete book layout in final form or who can look for glitches in an e-book format.

Beyond that, a proofreader has to be a stickler about the language but yet flexible enough to change with the times. I’m still learning how to do this. I hate to admit it, but I’m still getting over the fact that “anymore” is now one word. But, at least buying new dictionaries is a tax deduction for me.

Now, tell us the truth: Are all proofreaders OCD?

OCD? Ha ha ha! You should see my house! I think I am word-OCD or print-OCD, but not generally OCD. I like tidying things up in print. I like knowing words are in a better order, are being used properly, or are in a position to make a difference now. I confess that some of this OCD spills over into my daily life. I rearrange the throw pillows on the sofa a lot more often than I used to. But, I still don’t wash the baseboards, so there’s hope for me yet.

Don’t miss part two of my interview with Linda Au right here next Friday, where Linda talks about texting as the work of the devil and why proofreading your work matters now more than ever! D.

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Linda’s short humor essays have garnered numerous awards. Two books of her humor essays, Head in the Sand…and other unpopular positions and Fork in the Road … and other pointless discussions, are currently available on Amazon.com and BN.com.

Linda has worked behind the scenes in publishing as a proofreader, copy editor, and typesetter since the late 1980s. She has worked with many independent authors, as well as publishers such as Carroll & Graf, Shoemaker & Hoard, Crown & Covenant Publications, Christian Publications (now WingSpread/Zur), Pegasus Books, and F+W Publications.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Linda-M-Au/119278508108217

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaMAu

Blog/Web site: The Other Side of the Desk

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/austruck/

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Dora Machado is the award winning author of the epic fantasy Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, available from Twilight Times Books. She grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a fascination for writing and a taste for Merengue. After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She lives in Florida with her husband and three very opinionated cats.

To learn more about Dora Machado and her novels, visit her website at www.doramachado.com or contact her at Dora@doramachado.com.

Subscribe to her blog at http://www.doramachado.com/blog/ and sign up for her at newsletter at http://doramachado.com/newsletter.php,

Facebook and Twitter.

For a free excerpt of The Curse Giver, visit  http://twilighttimesbooks.com/TheCurseGiver_ch1.html.

The Curse Giver from Amazon

Amazon: : http://amzn.to/13oVu2P

A Review from Here Interview with Dora Machado

Monday, August 12th, 2013

This is one of my favorite interviews that I’ve done this year. It asked some tough questions and it really made me think. It is reprinted with permission from:

http://reviewfromhere.com/2013/08/07/interview-with-dora-machado-author-of-the-curse-giver/comment-page-1/#comment-36989

Enjoy! D.


1. Could you please tell us a little about your book?

Of course! I’m very excited about my new fantasy romance, The Curse Giverpublished by Twilight Times Books. The Curse Giver is about an innocent healer called Lusielle, who is betrayed and condemned to die for a crime she didn’t commit. When she’s about to be executed, Lusielle is rescued from the pyre by an angry, embittered lord doomed by a mysterious curse. You might think that Bren, Lord of Laonia, is Lusielle’s savior, but he isn’t. On the contrary, Bren is pledged to kill Lusielle himself, because her murder is his people’s only salvation.

What ensues is a dangerous journey, where Lusielle and Bren have to escape their ruthless enemies and unravel the mystery of the terrible curse that ails the lord of Laonia. They also have to overcome the distrust they have for each other, struggle with the forbidden attraction between them, and defy the boundaries between love and hate and good and evil to defeat the curse giver who has already conjured their ends.

2. Who is your biggest supporter?

My family, especially my husband, who was the one who encouraged me to seek publication. I don’t think I would have ever undertaken the journey to publication without his support and encouragement.

3. Your biggest critic?

I’m my biggest critic! It’s a heavy burden because I’m always questioning myself , but it’s also an advantage because I’m driven to do more and better.

4. What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as an author?

Hmm, that’s a tricky question. I think I would have answered this question quite differently a few years ago. When I first started writing, I measured achievement step by step, the first completed manuscript, the first full edit, the first acceptance letter, etc. Then came the day when Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, my first novel, was published and I remember thinking that it was my greatest achievement ever; that is, until it won the Benjamin Franklin award for best debut novel in 2009. I thought I was hot stuff then!

After The Heart of the Stone came two more award-winning novels. When I finished the Stonewiser trilogy, I was absolutely sure that completing the series was by far my greatest accomplishment. But then came The Curse Giver and here I am, once again, enjoying this moment but also redefining my concept of achievement.

You see, these days, I’ve come to realize that a writer’s journey is not about a moment or a book. On the contrary, a writer’s journey entails many moments, some lived far away from any sense of achievement other than the occasional appreciation for a well-constructed sentence or an awesome plot twist. To me, an author’s accomplishments are not measured in terms of books, awards, sales, reviews or accolades. An author’s accomplishments are defined by his or her ability to bring enjoyment to the reader. These days I feel most accomplished when I hear from a reader who has connected with my stories or who has been touched by my writing.

5. What do you feel is your biggest strength?

As a writer, I feel like one of my biggest strengths is plot design. I love an interesting, fast and complex plot that surprises with clever twists. I also feel like my characters come across real and vivid and that my stories are enriched by the quality of the relationships between the characters. But perhaps my biggest strength as a writer is the passion that I bring to both the craft and the story. It’s a passion that sustains me and permeates every line I write and every character that inhabits my stories.

6. Biggest weakness?

That would be a long list! Self-deprecation, maybe? Seriously, now, let me think about that.  I think I’m shy and sometimes reticent to step into the public eye. I want to be writing all the time. I have been known to neglect my own blog or skip a FB post in favor of writing some more.

7. What do you feel sets The Curse Giver apart from others in the same genre?

The theme is a complete departure from the usual and a fresh take on magic and fantasy. The relationships are powerful, conflicted, deep and daring.  The world and the settings are diverse and inspired by my multicultural life experiences. The issues are neither white nor black but rather complex and nuanced. There’s a lot or realism to my fantasy and I’m not afraid to mix a powerful, edgy romance with a truly epic fantasy story.

8. Is there anything you regret doing/not doing?

I wish I would have started writing my stories sooner!

9. What is your favorite past-time?

I love traveling and I find a lot of inspiration for my stories along the way. In fact, I was traveling through Peru when I was writing The Curse Giver. I also love hiking, despite the huffing and puffing, which might explain why I’m answering your questions at 37,000 feet on a jet bound from Colorado. Of course I love reading, but that’s a given. My most favorite past-time involves spending time with my family.

10. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

I want to thank you again for having me and giving me an opportunity to reach out to your readers. If you like fast-paced, plot-twisting fantasy, epic, dark, and yes—why not?—incredibly romantic fantasy, give The Curse Giver a try. I’m betting you might like it.

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Dora Machado is the award-winning author of the epic fantasy Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, available from Twilight Times Books. She grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a fascination for writing and a taste for Merengue. After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She lives in Florida with her husband and three very opinionated cats. To learn more about Dora Machado and her novels, visit her website at www.doramachado.com or contact her at Dora@doramachado.com. For a free excerpt of The Curse Giver, visit  http://twilighttimesbooks.com/TheCurseGiver_ch1.html.

Subscribe to her blog at http://www.doramachado.com/blog/, sign up for her at newsletter at http://doramachado.com/newsletter.php,

Facebook and Twitter.

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Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/12AOH3Z

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/16EbUzM

Romance eBooks: http://bit.ly/14TXNbC

An Interview with Aaron Paul Lazar

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

As you may know, this week we are celebrating my fellow TTB author, Aaron Paul Lazar’s upcoming release, Don’t Let the Wind Catch You. I thought perhaps you would like learning about this wonderful writer and the mysteries he writes so well. Enjoy! D.

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Q) How was writing Don’t Let the Wind Catch You different from the other books in the LeGarde Mystery series?

A) When I write from “young Gus’s” POV, I need to let myself go back to that eleven or twelve-year-old inside me. It was an age I remember with great clarity and with intense nostalgia. I simply try to be me (or Gus) at that age and let the story flow.

Sometimes I have to look up when certain songs or events took place, because I don’t remember the precise year they came out, etc. And of course I’d already created the characters of young Gus, Siegfried, and Elsbeth in Tremolo: Cry of the Loon, so it wasn’t hard at all. It can be almost like a magical trip back to childhood for me, which is probably why these types of books are among my favorites.

Q) Where does the German influence come from? Brigit Marggrander, the twins’ mother, has a real problem dealing with her past life in a Nazi concentration camp. How did this come into your story?

A) When I worked for Kodak I lived in Germany for months and visited frequently, thus my passion for German culture. And my daughter, Melanie, performed in “The Diary of Anne Frank” when she was in high school. I’d sit in the back of the auditorium during rehearsals and as time went on my hatred for the Nazis deepened. So I had to include some kind of theme here for my German twins’ mother. Also, I have always been fascinated by stories about asylums, especially in the older days. I realize that in the fifties and sixties mental illness was often considered an embarrassment, and people frequently went years without help like Brigit does in this side-plot of Don’t Let the Wind Catch You.

Q) Will you ever write a story that shows what happened to Siegfried in 1966? (The boating accident that made him lose his math genius and left him partially mentally impaired)

A) I do plan to write a sequel to Don’t Let the Wind Catch You, and it would make sense for it to take place the next year, in 1966. So stay tuned!

Q) How hard is it to take a fully mature adult character and portray him as a child? You did this with Gus LeGarde, Siegfried, Elsbeth, and also made Gus’s parents, The Marggranders, Oscar and Millie Stone, and the LeGarde grandparents thirty years younger in these “young Gus” stories.

A) It was actually a lot of fun to take the “adult” part away from my main characters who started in Double Forté (book 1 in the series) and bring them back to 1964. (Tremolo) I decided to show Siegfried, the gentle giant in Double Forté who lost his mental acuity, before his accident. It was fun to portray him as a bright, math genius who also excelled in orienteering. Bits of Siegfried transcend across time, of course, and can be found in the pre-accident young boy as well as the mature adult who works in Freddie’s veterinary clinic and around the LeGarde homestead.

Q) Where did you learn so much about horses? It seems like you really know the details. Research? Or first hand experience?

A) Ah, my horse chapters are among my favorites, mostly because I miss my own Morgan horses my wife Dale and I used to ride every day. We were both horse fanatics—one of the reasons we bonded so well before we were married. We talked horses all day long, cared for, rode, bought, and sold them. But mostly we adored them. When we were married, Dale brought her little Morgan mare out to live with us in Upstate New York, and I purchased my first sixteen hand high Morgan gelding. Oh, the rides we had. It was Heaven. As a child I also rode the woods with my buddies. But we never met up with a hermit or a little Indian ghost!

Q) You cover a difficult subject in this book with great sensitivity. Were you trying to teach a lesson in anti-bigotry here by “showing, not telling” how Gus reacts to the discovery that his grandfather loved another man?

A) I didn’t plan to do this – it just came about. I wanted to have a scandalous secret that was revealed over time, and it just happened to involve a gay couple who sadly had to give up their love because of the morés of the time. In hindsight, I think Gus’s reaction to this “taboo” subject was authentic. He hadn’t been tainted by discussion of homosexuality being an “illness” or that it was wrong. People didn’t discuss such things in those days, not openly, and especially not with children. I grew up when Gus did and never even heard about gay people until I was in college.

So I’m proud of Gus for his understanding and compassion, and glad that maybe in hindsight he can help folks young or old learn to accept people who don’t fit into a supposedly “normal” mold. I realize, also in hindsight, that I have included mini-lessons in all my books about accepting those people who aren’t perfect, like Siegfried (mentally damage) or Cindi (Downs Syndrome, from Upstaged), or Penelope (gay lover of Sam Moore’s daughter in For Keeps), or Raoul Rodriguez (transgender in For the Birds) or Slim (Huge black convict in FireSong), etc.

Q) Why did you choose mysteries? Was it an easy choice, or did you have to make a conscious decision?

A) I always read mysteries, since I was a kid. I used to read Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie, and all the “animal” mysteries I could get my parents to buy on the Arrow Book Club in elementary school. I remember reading about Black Diamond (a horse) and lots of dog stories. My folks read and adored John D. MacDonald and I, in turn, fell in love with the Travis McGee mysteries of the master, Mr. MacDonald. They also had Rex Stout, Agatha Christie, PD James, and more mysteries always available in plentiful quantities. I guess it was genetics. I was born to two mystery fanatics. So I really didn’t depart from the genre. When I began writing, it was almost a defacto decision to create a mystery.

Q) Do you enjoy writing?

A) I love the process of writing. It’s as if I’m living in the movie in my mind. It’s a fantastic escape mechanism and I crave the process like a drug addict. Lately I’ve had to do more promotional efforts and I must say, I don’t enjoy that as much as the pure process of creating!

Q) Do you write in a specific place or time of day? Do you keep a notebook to jot down ideas?

A) I write mostly in the early morning hours or the later, quieter moments of the day. But I can write anytime, anywhere. I have been known to write some great scenes in a hospital, waiting for family to come out of surgery, or in the airport, waiting for a plane to Germany. It seems whenever I have a moment to myself, it is the “perfect” time to write. Although I must say my favorite time to write is the dark, early hours of morning.

I don’t keep a notebook, but there is a file I have on my computer with “ideas for stories” that I occasionally refer to. Usually I have an idea brewing for one particular story that seems to overpower me. I think about it constantly. I dream about it. And then the new book begins to take shape. That’s my typical process.

Q) Do you know the end of a novel when you begin? Do you ever change your planned plot in midstream?

A) I don’t always know the endings in advance. I usually know the beginning and the general themes I will use. I start to write and let my characters take over, then as the themes deepen and become more complex, the ending seems to fall into place. If you’ve read my works, you’ll know I usually like to end my stories in an upbeat, positive fashion. People still die, someone is still hurt, but in the end, the stories resolve to a positive outcome.

Q) Do you discuss your work with family or friends?

A) I used to drive my wife crazy, asking her about what Gus LeGarde (my first protagonist in LeGarde Mysteries) would do, or what she thought of one plot twist or another. Lately, however, I’ve been giving her a break. I think I used to drive her mad! These days, I sometimes run my plot ideas by my wonderful mentor, Sonya Bateman, who is a superb writer and a great teacher. She’s shared so much with me over the years and I know my writing has improved dramatically because of her influence.

Q) The Genesee Valley is almost a character in your novels. Have you always lived there?

A) I moved to the Genesee Valley in upstate NY (just south of Rochester, NY) in 1981, the same year I married Dale and the year I started working for Kodak. Two years later, we had our first of three daughters, and we have lived here and loved it ever since. I can’t think of another place on earth I’d rather spend my days, it is so beautiful, with the rolling hills and the Finger Lakes.

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About Aaron Paul Lazar

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. The award-winning and bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys.

Visit his website at www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (August 15, 2013), the author’s preferred edition of UPSTAGED (FEB 2013), and SANCTUARY, book #3 in Tall Pines Mysteries in JULY 2013.

Help us drive Don’t Let The Wind Catch You to Amazon’s top rankings by purchasing it on August 15th, 2013 at:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ECNEOTE

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The Curse Giver’s “Book Bomb”

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Do you know what a “book bomb” is?

I had no idea until a group of my fellow Twilight Times Books authors introduce me to the concept.

A “book bomb” is a gathering of authors and readers who get together to promote a new release on a particular day in the hopes of driving the book to the top of the charts. I like to think of it like a book’s coming out party. Did I tell you? I like coming out parties!

Today, Wednesday, July 17th 2013, we are doing a book bomb for The Curse Giver. If you’d like to join, it’s really simple. Just put up a little message announcing the book bomb on your blog, FB page, twitter or any of your social media outlets and run with it.

Here’s a few examples of what others are posting:

From the gifted Maria DeVivo, fellow fantasy author of The Coal Elf:

“BOOK BOMB!! Today is the day, folks!! Get your copy of Dora Machado’s THE CURSE GIVER at a special price of $3.99. Already making some waves with a ton of 5* reviews! Dark Fantasy at its FINEST!”

From TTB’s amazing fantasy author, Scott Eder:

“Bombs away! Today is the book bomb for Dora Machado’s new release, The Curse Giver. It’s a steal on Amazon at only $3.99. If you haven’t read one of Dora’s books, you need to check this out. She’s fantastic. Dark fantasy at its best.”

From the incredibly talented mystery master, Aaron Lazar:

“Okay, folks! Today’s the day to help rocket our talented author friend Dora Machado to the top of the charts! If you were considering buying The Curse Giver, come over and click on the left sidebar on MB4 (below) to get your eBook version. It has just gone on sale for $3.99!”

From brilliant Stephanie Osborn, Interstellar Woman of Mystery:

The Curse Giver, is being book-bombed by her fellow Twilight Times authors tomorrow! Twilight Times has put the Kindle version on sale for $3.99 already! Please join with us in supporting Dora, and have a look here (and tomorrow on my blog!) to learn more about this great new novel!”

From awesome Christine Amsden, the author of Cassie Scott Paranormal Detective:

“Guest blog and book bomb today. BOOK BOMB!! Today is the day, folks!! Get your copy of Dora Machado’s THE CURSE GIVER at a special price of $3.99.”

So there you have it. You are hereby officially invited to The Curse Giver’s coming out party. Hope to see you there!

Have a wonderful day.

D.

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Interview with The Dark Phantom

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

5 Questions with The Dark Phantom

Hi everybody! I just did this interview for The Dark Phantom at http://thedarkphantom.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/5-questions-with-dora-machado-author-of-the-curse-giver/

Q: Tell us why readers should buy The Curse Giver.

A: If you like fast-paced, plot-twisting, epic, dark, and yes—why not?—romantic fantasy, The Curse Giver is for you. In a world teetering on the brink of war and destruction, three lives collide, bound together by a powerful, terrifying, undefeatable curse: an embittered lord at the brink of death, doomed by a curse he doesn’t understand and tormented by a terrible secret; an innocent healer on the run, accused of a crime she didn’t commit, bearing a mysterious birthmark that commands her murder; and the evil curse giver who has already conjured their ends. The stakes are high—peace, healing and freedom or war, madness and horrible death. Somewhere between love and hate and justice or revenge, redemption awaits those who dare to challenge the tenuous boundaries of good and evil.

Q: What makes a good fantasy novel?

A: Fast-paced action, thrilling adventures and rich imagination perfectly balanced by deep, complex and engaging characters, intricate plots, and transcendental relationships that matter.

Q: What is a regular writing day like for you?
A: I sit down to write sometime between eight or nine in the evening and write through the night. I go to bed anywhere between three and six and sleep the morning away. I get up around ten or eleven and spend the afternoon editing what I did the night before and taking care of the business aspects of writing. The best part: It’s my schedule and I get to choose my office’s dress code, which, by the way, is a notch below casual, super comfy. The biggest challenge: Talk about not being a morning person!

Q: What do you find most rewarding about being an author?

A: The amazing readers who come along in my adventures.

Q: What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received that you’d like to pass to other authors?

A: Write like the wind, write often, diligently and continuously, write for yourself and, my favorite, write all the way to The End.

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Now available at:

Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/The-Curse-Giver-ebook/dp/B00DSUQL4I/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373559878&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Curse+Giver

Barnes & Noble.
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-curse-giver-dora-machado/1115929771

Romance eBooks
https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thecursegiver-1228818-143.html