Posts Tagged ‘Character development’

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.

CurseGiver_med

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

The Creation of El Vengador by Stephanie Osborn

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

The Creation of El Vengador
By Stephanie Osborn
http://www.stephanie-osborn.com

El Vengador400

Deputy Sheriff Michael Kirtchner gets an “unknown disturbance” dispatch call to a remote house trailer in the swamp. There, he discovers an old woman and a dog, terrorized by a mysterious beast, which he takes to be a bear. But when he contacts Game Warden Jeff Stuart to come trap the animal, Stuart tells him to get out if he values his life – this is no ordinary animal. Is Kirtchner up against a Swamp Ape – a Florida version of Bigfoot – or something more…sinister?

El Vengador (http://www.sff.net/people/steph-osborn/ElVengador.html) is my first deliberate foray into the paranormal and horror genres. I’ve had numerous friends try to convince me to do so in the last few years, but never was able to get hold of the right story idea. So I waited and let it “percolate” in the back of my mind.

But when a Facebook friend (who wants to remain anonymous) told me the story of his encounter of a mysterious “Florida Swamp Ape” during his tenure as a deputy sheriff, I was fascinated. And when he gave his permission for me to fictionalize the story, I knew I had found my paranormal horror story.

So I took his basic story from his own words and I transformed it. I cleaned it up, couched it in proper writer’s grammar, changed the point of view. I changed the deputy’s name, added the perspective of other civilians who encountered the creature…and then I twisted the knife.
Because, you see, I have some Cherokee in me. Oh, the family can’t prove it, not after the way the Cherokee were ejected from their properties during the Trail of Tears; any Native American who could pass as white in those days, did, and all records of their heritage were lost. But because I have several distinctive genetic expressions of that heritage, I am accepted by most elders I know as Cherokee. And my curiosity being what it is, along with my sincerity in wanting to know, I’ve been taught numerous things that most people don’t generally know.

Like the fact that the Cherokee (along with the Seminole and the Iroquois Confederacy, among others) are purported to have been offshoots – colonies, if you will – of the Maya peoples. It’s interesting to note that, just as the “Cherokee” are a group of tribes [Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, etc.], the Seminole are a group of tribes [Seminole, Creek, Miccosukee, etc.], the Iroquois Confederacy are a group of tribes [Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca, Cayuga, and later Tuscarora] ― so too are the Maya really a collection of tribes [Yucatec, Tzotzil, Tzeltal, Ch’ol, Kekchi, Mopan, and more]! The Maya comprised, and still comprise (oh yes, they’re still around ― they were laughing their butts off at the white fear of the “end” of their repeating calendar), more than 25 different peoples. The notion of splinter groups of this huge nation (it covered a substantial portion of Central America, butted up against the Aztec/Olmec empire, and expanded out into the Caribbean) moving up into Florida, then up the East Coast of North America, isn’t hard to believe at all.

It’s also true ― as I mentioned in the story ― that the medicine people and elders hold that the Maya, in turn, came from some place across the Great Sea to the East. Depending on who you talk to, this means we/they originated in Ancient Egypt, Phoenicia, Greece, the Biblical traders of Tarshish, or even Atlantis!

So it seemed to me that it would put a fun spin on things if I had this swamp ape, this mysterious unknown creature, be something other than pure animal. As it turned out, my research into the Maya turned up a mysterious “Howler Monkey God,” Hun-Batz, and an entire mythology in which this god was set. Monkey = simian, and ape = simian, so it wasn’t a huge jump for me to proposing a curse invoking the Son of Hun-Batz. And suddenly the whole thing congealed into this amazing, suspenseful, paranormal horror story.

How amazing and suspenseful? Well, let’s just say I literally creeped myself out. I’m a night owl, prone to insomnia and getting up in the night to putter around until I can fall back asleep. And I immediately discovered that I didn’t enjoy that anymore; I had a constant feeling that there might be something outside, in the yard, in the dark, watching through the windows and doors. When I did go back to bed, it was only to have lucid nightmares about the creature and the events in the book! I took to closing the curtains and blinds, avoiding the windows at night. Finally I gave up writing on the story after sundown, choosing to write only in the light, and hoping to get the imagery out of my head by bedtime.

I was more or less successful in that. I find that I still do better not to think about the book at night, and I still have the blinds and curtains closed at night. But our neighborhood is well lit with street lights, and the birds cluster in the trees around the house and sing cheerfully. So I know there’s nothing out there that they think is unusual. And that is comforting.

I don’t know that I’ll regularly write horror. I’m inclined to think, from my experiences with El Vengador, that I might not be cut out for that! Still and all, much of the science fiction mystery I do write tends to have strong elements of both paranormal and thriller, with the occasional seasoning of horror concepts thrown in for good measure. So I think I can take what I have learned from the experience and fold it back into my other works. And I think they’ll be the better for it.
And you never know. After all, my friend really did encounter…something…in the swamps of Florida…

From Sketch to Cover: A short Interview with Brad Fraunfelter, who created The Curse Giver’s cover.

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Have you ever wondered how an original book cover is created?

Well, it’s a work of art, a labor of love that includes brainstorming and research, a fascinating journey. It’s a creative process that involves the transformation of ideas into concepts, the conversion of words into tangible images. It starts with a sketch and it ends with a visual statement. But the best way of understanding the process, is to witness it, as I did in the case of my new novel, The Curse Giver.

Take a look at the concept’s evolution. If you click on the pictures, you will see the details coming to life.

Pretty neat, yes?

Brad Fraunfelter, the talented artist who created The Curse Giver‘s stunning cover, agreed to share his perspective with us, answering a few questions about his work and the cover’s creation process.

Q: What was your inspiration for The Curse Giver‘s cover?

Brad: My inspiration for the cover was drawn closely from the author’s write up’s which I studied carefully.  I chose the last idea which was on Dora’s list because I felt it would be visually most interesting. I wanted to show a dramatic contrast between the softness of the skin and dress of the girl, against the harshness of the armor of the man. For this reason I chose a white dress and pale skin for the girl, and dark, jagged armor for the man.

Q: How long did it take you from start to finish?

Brad: From start to finish, the painting took roughly a month: It involved a lot of preliminary research to study various forms of armor, and to design and sketch all the parts of what he was wearing, including the sword, helmet, and shield. Once I had these problems solved I could start on the painting itself.

Q: How did you accomplish such a stunning light effect on the armor?

Brad: To achieve the lighting effect on the armor I carefully studied the effects of light and reflections on metal. I also studied a few images of armor that I found on the internet for reference material. I also did several photoshoots of my own to get the placement of the man’s arms and hands correct and to nail the position of the light source.  I wanted to achieve the appearance of a “mystical” glow, so as one of the last steps to the painting I brushed in a soft white haze across the highlight areas, such as the girl’s dress.

Fascinating. Don’t you think?

To take a look at Brad’s creative process, from beginning to end go to: http://www.bradfraunfelterillustration.com/

Website: www.bradfraunfelterillustration.com

E-mail: brademail99@yahoo.com

Brad Fraunfelter Illustration

Glendale, California
(323)240-5744

Guest Post by Aaron Lazar: Downton Abbey Made me do it

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Hello everybody.

Today I bring you a fantastic guest post by my friend and fellow Twilight Times Books author, multi-award winner and Kindle bestselling author  Aaron Lazar, who in a feat of daring, decided to create a rift between one of his favorite characters, Quinn Hollister and his beloved wife Marcella. Now, you must understand, from an author’s point of view, doing something mean to a beloved character takes some guts and a very good reason. Aaron’s Lazar’s reason? Downton Abbey made me do it.

Read on and enjoy. D.

Quinn Hollister

How I met Quinn Hollister by Aaron Lazar

Quinn Hollister was born amidst unexpected chaos.

I met the protagonist of the Tall Pines Mysteries series when I was laid off from Kodak in 2009 after nearly thirty years of service. I’ll never forget it. The angst. The shock. The feelings of betrayal. And yes, the extra time for writing that was one of the many unexpected blessings associated with the layoff.

Quinn and the love of his life, Marcella, her mother, Thelma, and their bird, Ruby, surprised me right around that same time by appearing in a dream.

I know, how clichéd can you get? But it’s true. The dream was vivid and enticing, depicting a luxurious bird resort in the Adirondacks, and a little tangerine-red bird named Ruby who snuggled on my shoulder and won my proverbial heart.

I’ve never owned a bird. I never knew a bird, aside from those morning doves outside my window. And until this happened, I never thought about birds.

From this bewildering dream the Tall Pines Mystery series developed. And with it, Quinn Hollister, the bird’s owner and husband of my female protagonist.

Life was quite tumultuous at this point, as you can probably imagine, with me constantly on the hunt for engineering work for the day job, but in spite of the trying circumstances of worrying about survival and putting food on the table, I also had some free time to travel locally.

In a strange and convoluted way, the layoffs opened up a new world of opportunity, including the birth of this new, totally unplanned, third mystery series set in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York, as well as the creation of Quinn Hollister. (the other two series are LeGarde Mysteries [10 books] and Moore Mysteries [3 books])

My wife and I found a cabin overlooking the Sacandaga River in Hope, New York. It was inexpensive, relaxing, and a perfect setting for a mystery. We fell in love with the majestic beauty of the area, especially the soft, cleansing waters of the Sacandaga River over which the rustic cabin perches.

Quinn evolved slowly. At first he was an OCD Italian name Joe, until a friend pointed out that he resembled a popular TV character in the Monk series.

I’d never heard of Monk and rarely watched television, but I didn’t want the world thinking I’d copied his persona. So, I encouraged this character to evolve.

Probably because I’d been obsessing lately over my own somewhat distant Native American heritage, Quinn morphed into a tall, serene, half-Seneca antique collector with clear turquoise eyes bequeathed to him by his long-dead English playwright father. Married to Marcella, his wife of eight years, he adores her and manages to drive her nuts at the same time with his borderline case of OCD. This gentle man moves with grace, builds sweat huts, and wears in his glossy black hair long. He swims every morning in Honeoye Lake and likes things evenly spaced and on plan. Piles of magazines must be neatly stacked, forks and knifes should be aligned and parallel, socks need to be neatly separated by color in the drawer, and if a stock pot isn’t clean upon inspection, it will be rewashed without discussion.

I’ve grown quite fond of Quinn and his family, and I feel terrible about what I’ve put them through. Especially in this last book, MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA (est. 2014/2015 release).

Quinn loves Marcella. He’d do anything for her, including putting up with her very annoying mother, Thelma, who lives with them. But there’s one thing he doesn’t like one bit, and that’s Marcella’s long time association with her former lover, Sky Lissoneau.

Sky—Marcella’s first sweetheart—proposed to her twenty years ago after her college graduation. Alas, she broke his heart when she lovingly declined, deciding to pursue her operatic singing career in New York City instead of marrying him. Completely devastated, Sky joined the military and eventually went MIA, where for eighteen years friends and family agonized over his safety.

In Essentially Yours, book two in the Tall Pines series, life changes in a most surprising way when Sky’s backpack arrives on the doorstep jammed with a mysterious collection of essential oils, a password-protected memory stick, a bag of emeralds, and a book of Shakespeare’s sonnets. After an intense adventure involving an evil drug company and a possible cure for leukemia, Sky shows up. While it’s confusing to Marcella (she still has feelings for him, but loves her husband at the same time), Sky’s return spikes jealousy in Quinn, and ultimately this homecoming causes a great deal of grief and what ends up being a tantalizing trio filled with plenty of sexual tension.

Coming back to the subject of my current work in progress, MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA, I really do feel bad about what I did to Quinn in this story. I tore a rift between him and his wife, and almost destroyed their marriage.

What’s wrong with me? Why did I allow such conflict between two happily married people? Didn’t they have enough problems with the big evil drug company chasing them all over the mountains, trying to kill them?

Frankly, I still blame Downton Abbey, which I have recently claimed made me into a virtual  murderer. (You can read about it here if you wish.) I’m afraid being exposed to all kinds of family drama pushed me into a mode I hadn’t yet experienced. Great conflict, high tension, and lovely surprises. Horrible deaths of beloved characters.

(Evil chuckle) Did I tell you I loved it?

In time, my characters and I both found resolution to our problems. After a year of searching, the perfect day job arrived. I am now happily employed at a small German company. Our Rochester office has four employees and an office dog. How cool is that, right?

In the end of MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA, I allowed Quinn and Marcella to make up, and to forge ahead in the world I’ve created for them in the Tall Pines Mystery series. Who knows what book five will hold? I hope I’m not too hard on them. After all, they need to carry on for many more books to come. And I really do have to live with myself. Somehow. ;o)

***

Twilight Times Books by multi-award winning, Kindle bestselling author, Aaron Lazar:

LEGARDE MYSTERIES

DOUBLE FORTÉ (print, eBook, audio book)

UPSTAGED (print, eBook, audio book)

TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON (print, eBook, audio book)

MAZURKA (print, eBook, audio book)

FIRESONG (print, eBook, audio book)

DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (coming 2013)

VIRTUOSO (~2014)

MOORE MYSTERIES

HEALEY’S CAVE (print, eBook, audio book)

TERROR COMES KNOCKING (print, eBook, audio book)

FOR KEEPS (print, eBook, audio book)

TALL PINES MYSTERIES

FOR THE BIRDS (print, eBook, audio book coming 2013)

ESSENTIALLY YOURS (print, eBook, audio book)

SANCTUARY (coming, 2013)

MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA (~2014)

WRITING ADVICE:

WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1, 2, 3 (ebooks and audio books)

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, 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 http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (2013), SANCTUARY (2013), and VIRTUOSO (2014).

HONORABLE MENTION Eric Hoffer 2013 GRAND PRIZE * FINALIST 2013 EPIC Book Awards  * FINALIST 2012 FOREWORD BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDS * Finalist DaVinci Eye Cover Award 2013 * WINNER 2011 EPIC Book Awards, BEST Paranormal * FINALIST 2011 FOREWORD BOOK AWARDS * WINNER 2011 Eric Hoffer BEST Book, COMMERCIAL FICTION *Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Top 10 Reads for 2012 * 2X FINALIST Global eBook Awards 2011 * Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award – 2nd place 2011* Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Top 10 Books of 2012 * Winner of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s 9th Annual Noble (Not Nobel!) Prize for Literature 2011 * Finalist Allbooks Editor’s Choice Awards 2011 * Preditors&Editors Top 10 FinalistYolanda Renée’s Top Ten Books 2008MYSHELF Top Ten Reads 2008 * Writer’s Digest Top 101 Website Award 2009-2012

www.lazarbooks.com

www.murderby4.blogspot.com

www.aaronlazar.blogspot.com

www.aplazar.gather.com

http://aaronlazar.younglivingworld.com

www.pureoils.blogspot.com