Posts Tagged ‘summer reading’

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/

FITR-frontfinal (1)
HeadintheSandPRINTfinal-FRONT

***

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

How Fantasy Loves Romance and Romance Loves Fantasy

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

by

Dora Machado

People ask me all the time why I chose to write romantic fantasy. The short answer is that I can’t envision writing one without the other. The long answer might be a little more complex. The union of fantasy and romance is a marriage of convenience. The genres complement, enhance and enrich each other. Beyond that, romance and fantasy are the Yin and the Yang, ebony and ivory, Billy Joel and Elton John. They belong together.

I love writing epic fantasy. Fantasy is a subversive genre, requiring the mind to bend and the imagination to flex, perfectly suited for me. I love the genre’s creative freedom, the opportunity to rethink, redesign and reinterpret the human experience in fresh and diverse settings, and the mysteries that magic brings to the human equation. But fantasy without romance is like lemonade without lemons–blah, tasteless, inert. Add a voluptuous romance to a well-crafted fantasy and POW! Now you’ve got a story with grit.

This is exactly what I’ve tried to do in all of my books, and my latest novel, The Curse Giver from Twilight Times Books, is no exception. The Curse Giver is about an innocent healer named 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 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, because her murder is his people’s only chance at salvation.

The curse tormenting the Lord of Laonia is at the action crux of the story, but it’s really the relationship between Bren and Lusielle that gives meaning to this grand adventure. The gradual transformation of enemies into allies, the clash of conflicted hearts and the forbidden passion that blooms between them, balance the action, deepen the story, and imbue the tale with a sense of gritty realism. This is the part that makes the reader care and the writer write. This is the part that gives me goose bumps. As Lusielle and Bren prepare to challenge the curse giver who has already conjured their ends, they must find the magic within, the inner strength to save not just themselves, but each other. In the end, romance lends fantasy the concept of affection, and affection turns out to be the most powerful magic of all.

In my fantasy novels, romance is not just a component of the story; it is the heart of the story. In my view, romance enhances fantasy by connecting the story to the experience of love, personal struggle and acceptance. Without this connection, fantasy loses balance, meaning, focus, depth and perspective. The stories I want to tell are lush, vivid, passionate and exuberant. I can’t imagine telling them without a sizzling romance sprouting right in the middle of it all to make a mess of things. At the end of the day, that might very well be why I chose to write romantic fantasy. I like to make a mess of things and romantic fantasy is as much fun to read as it is to write.


TheCurseGiver_ad_HR (1)

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/13oVu2P

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 Dora’s blog at http://www.doramachado.com/blog/.

Sign up for Dora’s at newsletter at http://doramachado.com/newsletter.php,

Facebook and Twitter.

Watch The Curse Giver‘s Book Trailer at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nv8WFYpdqQo&feature=youtu.be&noredirect=1

Author Links:

Website: http://www.doramachado.com/

Email: Dora@doramachado.com

Blog: http://www.doramachado.com/blog/

Newsletter: http://doramachado.com/newsletter.php,

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DoraMachado101

Twitter: @DoraMachado or https://twitter.com/DoraMachado

Amazon Author Central: amazon.com/author/doramachado

99 Cents!

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Hello there!

I just found out that 99 cents can get you The Curse Giver and three other fantastic new releases from Twilight Times Books, but only in the next 48 hours.

Indeed, The Curse Giver, my newest release, will be on sale for only 99 cents on Friday, August 23 and Saturday, August 24. If you haven’t gotten around to purchasing The Curse Giver, today and tomorrow will be your best chance to get it for only 99 cents!

Three additional releases from Twilight Times Books are also offered for 99 cents for the next forty-eight hours, including Dragon Fire by Dina Von Lowerkraft, Don’t Let the Wind Catch You by Aaron Lazar, and Lucid by Natalie Roers. Please help me celebrate and support my talented fellow TTB authors by purchasing their books!

Scroll down to learn about these wonderful TTB novels, available for only 99 cents, but only for today and tomorrow.

Enjoy!

D.

The Curse Giver from AmazonBuy Link:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Curse-Giver-ebook/dp/B00DSUQL4I/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377230945&sr=1-1&keywords=The+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.

Dragon's Fire

Buy Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Fire-ebook/dp/B00ECNEZ6G/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377230520&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Dina+Von+Lowekraft

Some choices are hard to live with.
But some choices will kill you.

When seventeen-year-old Anna first meets Rakan in her hometown north of the Arctic Circle, she is attracted to his pulsing energy. Unaware that he is a shape-shifting dragon, Anna is drawn into a murderous cycle of revenge that pits Rakan and his clan against her best friend June.

Torn between his forbidden relationship with Anna, punishable by death, and restoring his family’s honor by killing June, Rakan must decide what is right. And what is worth living – or dying – for.

Lucid

Buy Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Lucid-Natalie-Roers/dp/160619027X/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377230654&sr=1-3&keywords=Lucid

Disfigured at birth and ostracized at school, Travis Hunter dreams of acceptance and secretly yearns for the affection of a beautiful young woman named Corrine. When a mysterious doctor promises to help Travis through something called lucid dreaming, Travis gets more than he ever bargained for and soon finds himself learning the secrets of love and life in a fantastic unconscious world.


Don't Let the Wind Catch You

Buy Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Let-Wind-Catch-ebook/dp/B00ECNEOTE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377230847&sr=1-1&keywords=don%27t+let+the+wind+catch+you

When young Gus LeGarde befriends Tully, a cranky old hermit in the woods who speaks to an Indian spirit, he wonders if the man is nuts. But when the spirit rattles tin cups, draws on dusty mirrors, and flips book pages, pestering him to find evidence to avenge her past, things change fast. What Gus doesn’t understand is why his mother hates Tully and forbids him to see the old man. What could Tully have possibly done to earn this distrust?

Faced with long-buried family secrets and danger, Gus summons courage beyond his years in this poignant and powerful telling of the sultry summer of 1965.

Fantasy’s “Real” Heroines

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Have you ever wondered what makes fantasy heroines real?

I do. All the time. Perhaps it’s because I write fantasy. But I also read a lot of fantasy and I really appreciate a heroine who is powerful not because she’s magical but rather because she’s real.

Lusielle, the heroine in my latest novel, The Curse Giver from Twilight Times Books, turned out to be a remarkably “real” fantasy heroine. In hindsight, I really liked her and I wanted to learn more from the very character I created. I wondered what made her so compelling.

But first, let me tell you a little bit about Lusielle. In the novel, she’s a powerful healer, on the run, accused of a crime she didn’t commit. She’s about to be burned for her crimes when the Lord of Laonia saves her from the pyre. He’s not her savior. On the contrary, he’s deadly to her. A mysterious curse giver has cast a virulent curse that can’t be defused or defeated. The curse requires the Lord of Laonia to murder Lusielle in order to save his people from destruction. So this is how the story begins, with Lusielle wondering if she should help the bitter lord pledged to kill her and the Lord of Laonia set to kill the only woman who can heal more than his body—his soul.

One of the reasons Lusielle comes across so real in the story is that her passion for her occupation is very tangible. Practicing her craft lends her authority and, perhaps more importantly, many opportunities to grow and learn throughout the story. She takes her trade very seriously and so did I. All of the healing practices and ingredients that Lusielle uses in The Curse Giver are based on authentic medieval practices. Most of her potions’ components come from historical sources. I think that the concrete elements of her practice make her more real to the reader, more credible and therefore more compelling.

Another important aspect to Lusielle’s realism is that she’s not perfect and she knows it. She works hard but things don’t always go her way. She’s made mistakes—a marriage without love that led to years of abuse and slavery, years that, by her own admission, she won’t get back. And yet she’s also resilient, capable of looking forward, able to dream a different life and willing to pursue it even when it entails breaking the rules and loving someone who is ultimately pledged to kill her.

Along those lines, relationships bring a solid sense of reality to Lusielle’s story. Friendship is very important to her, and her often confusing feelings for the Lord of Laonia reflect the full gamut of the human emotions that are so familiar to all of us.

But I think that the elements that make Lusielle most real are her willingness to challenge her fears, her ability to learn from her experiences, and the confidence that she develops as she learns. Courage and learning go hand in hand. Sure, there’s some powerful magic in the story, but ultimately it’s Lusielle’s knowledge, reason and awareness that make all the difference. See, I think heroines who learn, change and adapt throughout a story are not just cool, they’re also real, because change is required of all of us in order to better our lives and we thrive only when we learn from our mistakes.

****

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/ or sign up for her at newsletter at http://doramachado.com/newsletter.php,

Find her on Facebook and Twitter.

CurseGiver_Front Cover Final

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

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

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

Are All Writers Egoists? A Guest Blog by Aaron Lazar

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

As some of you might remember, today is the official release and book bomb day for Aaron Lazar’s Don’t Let the Wind Catch You, which is available at http://amzn.to/1bxNnB7 for only $2.99.  And just in case you want to learn more about this talented author, here’s a funny and endearing guest blog by Aaron Lazar.  Enjoy! D.

Are all Writers Egoists?

Writers are terribly self-centered.

Now, don’t get offended. I’m not really talking about all of you. I’m pretty much talking about me.

Strangely enough, I don’t think anyone in my non-writer life would label me an egoist. Or an egotist, for that matter. I had to look up the difference, but there isn’t much of a distinction, as far as I could tell.* Anyway, I can’t picture someone calling me either one of those. At least not to my face.

With my family, colleagues at my day job, and with neighbors and friends, I try to be a good listener. I try to be generous. I take time to be there for them, to encourage them when they’re down, to support them when they’re mourning. I care about family and friends and frequently make sacrifices for them.

I sound pretty great, don’t I?

Ahem. Read on.

In my writerly world, I am horrified to admit that I have recently come to learn I’m a HUGE egoist.

Look at the first few paragraphs in this piece. How many times did I use the word “I?” TWELVE! It’s always all about what I think, or what I noticed, or what I wrote. Isn’t it? (Of course, I guess it might be hard to write about what you think or notice. LOL.)

I started to ponder this recently when I had a confrontation with a friend, and she pointed out to me how much I write about **me**. After a bit of soul searching, I realized she was right.

But it got me to thinking.

I try to be a good guy. I really do. This is in spite of all the stupid things I do, like dribbling my red herbal tea on the new carpet at work yesterday (I spent an hour cleaning it) and consistently forgetting to attach files to emails. If it can be screwed up, I’ll do it.

So, I’m an egoist and a klutz.

That’s not all. No. Not only am I all of the above, I’m mean.

REALLY mean.

I am merciless to my characters. I put them through the wringer time and time again, without care for their suffering. I torment them. I make them endure horrible losses. I hurt ANIMALS, for God’s sake. Okay, so I rescue them in the end, but what kind of a jerk does that to poor, defenseless animals?

Sigh.

I suppose we writers can always pretend to sit back and be the philosophical documenter, the great observer, the quintessential Hemmingway-esque witness of life. But however life presents itself – brutal or tender, seedy or majestic – all fiction comes from our inside our own minds. It’s all about how we see it. How we imagine. How we think our characters would feel.

Isn’t it?

So, how do we compensate for being such egoists?

It’s not as bad as it sounds. It certainly isn’t hopeless, and I’m pretty sure we can redeem ourselves.

Maybe we can find redemption by setting good examples through our characters’ actions while they’re in the midst of dashing here or there during the page turning suspense.  One thing I never intended to do with my three mystery series was to teach lessons about nurturing a family, tending to a disabled wife, dealing with trauma or loss, or being a good father or grandfather. Those things just found their way into my books, because my characters do that stuff in their everyday lives. To my surprise, my readers have come back and thanked me for doing just that. It humbles me to think that by including some amusing family scenes in the middle of the mayhem, I might have actually done some good. One fellow actually told me I made him a better dad. And another wrote to say I got him through his chemo. Like I said, it’s all pretty darned humbling.

Can examples like these make up for my weaknesses and faults? For that great big ego? For my incessant ranting about me???

Man. I sure hope so.

***

–Egoist, noun

1. self-centered or selfish person ( opposed to altruist).

2. an arrogantly conceited person; egotist.

Egotist, noun

1. a conceited, boastful person.

2. a selfish person; egoist.

*****

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:

DontLettheWind-cover-front HI RES

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

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.

****

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.

CurseGiver_Front Cover Final

Buy Links:

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

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

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

Stuff is Happening: A Guest Blog and a Review of The Curse Giver by Jerry Hatchett

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Congratulations are in order for my good friend and talented techno-thriller author, Jerry Hatchett. His free Kindle giveaway of Seven Unholy Days netted over 63,000 downloads in only five days. That’s huge folks! In the middle of the well-deserved celebration, Jerry found time to review and recommend The Curse Giver because–well–that’s the kind of generous guy he is. Here’s Jerry’s blog. Enjoy! D.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Stuff is happening!

Sorry for the long dry spell without a post, folks. Life got busy and the blog got back-burnered for several weeks. I’m excited to share some news with you about Seven Unholy Days. I ran a free promo on this, my most recent novel, for the Kindle edition. The promo was a stunning success that exceeded my wildest expectations. I know many of you reading this helped to make that happen, whether it was downloading yourself or helping spread the word, so: THANK YOU!

Kindle Cover

http://amzn.to/10tDIVN

5 DAYS: 63,546 DOWNLOADS

Even better, once the free promo ended and the price went back to its normal $4.99, Seven Unholy Days has remained on Amazon’s list of bestselling technothrillers. I am appreciative and humbled by the kind reviews that are now pouring in almost daily.

Moving on, I have a couple authors/books I want to share with you. If you’ve followed my blog long, you know I don’t often do this, and the reason is simple: My credibility with you is everything. I absolutely do not trade reviews with other authors. I don’t buy reviews. I don’t do sock-puppet reviews. The first and most important purpose by far for reviews is to inform and benefit the potential buyer, not the seller. I fervently believe this to be true whether I’m reviewing a book or an automatic litter box or a pair of athletic shorts.

With all that said, if you enjoy fantasy novels, I have a couple authors I can wholeheartedly recommend for you to explore.

First up is my longtime friend and so-very-talented fellow author, Dora Machado. Her Stonewiser series was award winning and highly acclaimed for good reason, and I of course invite you to check out that trilogy. But her latest work, called The Curse Giver, is positively excellent. I enjoyed it immensely and I’m not really a fantasy reader. It’s a big, rich, robust tale told with Dora’s characteristically splendid prose, and it’s a joy.

CurseGiver_Front Cover Final

http://amzn.to/11X5VKd

Next, I’ve discovered another author of (darkish) paranormal fantasy novels who is really going to be something special. Her name is Lea Ryan and I was honored to recently read her upcoming book called Pestilence Rising. You can read about it on Goodreads right now and it will be available September 18th on Amazon. Ryan’s a great storyteller, but what will really hook you with her writing is her amazing gift of language. She has that intangible ability to write sentences and paragraphs and pages that are almost melodic. Discover her now. That way, in a few years you’ll be able to say, “Oh, I was reading her way back when!”

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18269885-pestilence-rising

Finally, a new chapter is coming SOON for The Projectionist!

Thanks for your patient loyalty!

http://jerryhatchett.blogspot.com/2013/08/stuff-is-happening.html

Close Encounters of the Night Kind Reviews The Curse Giver

Monday, August 5th, 2013

I’m excited to share this new review of The Curse Giver by Close Encounters of the Night Kind. My favorite lines? “My only regret is that I only have five spiders to give this book. It truly deserves many more. Hats off to you Dora Machado for such an amazing read!”

Here’s the review in its entirety:

What an original and phenomenal read! I was immediately swept up in this enchanting world of magic, mystery, and lore. It was a page-turning and once I started, I could not put it down! The world-building was so vivid that it was so easy to get swept away in the fantasy.

Lusielle was by far my favorite character. She already had a horrid life and was betrayed by all the ones she thought cared for her. She was thought to be a witch and damned to burn at the stake. This scene was so well written, you could actually feel the heat from the flames a they were reaching to engulf her. She had known nothing but pain and suffering, but still she soldiered on and helped people that didn’t deserve it. She persevered though everything that was thrown at her and remained true to herself. She didn’t become bitter and in fused with hatred even though she had just cause. She truly was the hero of this wonderful book.

Bren had an equal amount of bad luck. Cursed for an unknown reason by his father’s misdeeds, he watched as everyone he loved died around him. The last of his line, he struggled through the riddles of the curse, trying desperately not to save himself, but the land and the people he loved. She wrote a wonderful champion in Bren, who remained steadfast and hopeful throughout this tale. He was a good man who cared about his people.

This was a fascinating and enjoyable read!! I haven’t read a book in this particular genre that I have enjoyed this much in a long time! My only regret is that I only have five spiders to give this book. It truly deserves many more. Hats off to you Dora Machado for such an amazing read!

http://closeencounterswiththenightkind.blogspot.com/2013/08/review-and-guest-post-of-curse-giver-by.html

Another Great Review for The Curse Giver

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Here’s another great review for The Curse Giver, from Tiffany at http://caughtinasnyderwebb.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-curse-giver-blog-tour-reviewgiveaway.html.

*******

MY REVIEW!!!!!!

This book was a doozy, coming in at about 500 pages!!! I thought I wasn’t going to like some of it, but I loved every page. I’m finding it hard to express my thoughts, though. There is just so much to say. I’ve read other books with curses incorporated into the story, but never with anything quite like this book. I felt the doom in the air and I swear it was like watching a movie unfold. The emotions were very real and frightening as the characters stood toface the curse. The book is told in 4 different POVs, so that we know what is going on away from the main characters. Those characters are Hato, Severo, Bren and Lusielle. I usually shy away from books with that many POV because things can become confusing. In The Curse Giver, however, I didn’t find myself confused- I just wanted MORE. The adventure (if that’s what you want to call it) was more like them running for their lives and it was exhilarating and I never knew what to expect- that my favorite part. I know I said there is so much to say, but I don’t want to spoil anything. Just know that the world building is brilliant and the characters were well developed. Aside from that, get ready for the ride of a life time.

Overall: An Epic Fantasy Adventure that will keep you up throughout the night.
(no, really. O.O)

Bren is a tortured man after witnessing his father’s -and then his brother’s painful deaths. He knows the curse is going to take him next, but he will do anything to save Laonia. Even kill a woman that bears the goddesses mark. He knows his duty and will fulfill whatever he needs to do. But underneath all that, there is a man crying out for help who actually HAS a heart. And there just might be one person that can help him. Too bad he has to kill her.

Lusielle was orphaned at the age of 16 and then married a horrible man. He beat her and did other unimaginable things to her. Even after all that, she keeps her head up and back straight. She is full of strength and proves it time and time again. She cares deeply for anyone injured and helps to ease their suffering- with her gift as a remedy healer.

Hato is a grumpy old man- but loyal to a fault. He has also like Bren in the fact taht watched his friend’s downfall. He does everything he can to help Bren who is Laonia’s only hope and the last of his line.

Severo: I had my doubts about him, but I came to like he just like the other characters. He and Lusielle had some funny moments together as well as some terrifying ones. He is defiantly a guy that you want on your side.

5 STARS

Quotes:

“We’re not going down!” Bren shouted. “Do you hear? Heave! Come on, my pretty girls. What are you? Afraid of breaking your nails? Heave!”

~Bren

“When she dresses like that—”

Elfu growled. “Don’t stare at my mistress’ bosom!”

“I’m not!” Severo flushed.

“I’ll beat you up—”

~Severo and Elfu talking about Lusielle

Bren waited, pondering the strange turn his life had taken. Either he was a desperate man or he was becoming increasingly creepy. Both, he decided, smirking in the dark.

~Bren

For more reviews from Tiffany, go to http://caughtinasnyderwebb.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-curse-giver-blog-tour-reviewgiveaway.html

A Book Review of The Curse Giver

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

It’s my pleasure to share with all of you this beautifully written review of The Curse Giver by Mayra Calvani, posted at Blogcritics.com on Sunday, July 21, 2013.

******

Intrigue, romance and adventure await you in Dora Machado’s latest fast-paced, plot-twisting fantasy, The Curse Giver, just released by Twilight Times Books.

The story begins with our innocent healer heroine, Lusielle, as she is about to be burned on the pyre after she’s sentenced to death for a crime she didn’t commit. But just as the flames are about to engulf her, a mysterious stranger on a horse storms through the crowd and rescues her.

Brennus, Lord of Laonia, is tormented by the curse that has destroyed his people. To undo it, he must kill Lusielle in the most vicious of ways, for she is the one who bears the mysterious birthmark.

However, destiny plays a trick on them. Now together, amidst a world teetering on the brink of war, predator and prey grow too close for their own good. Passion flares as in a twist of fate, together, they try to defeat the terrifying curse and destroy the Curse Giver…

Lovers of dark romantic fantasy will relish The Curse Giver. This was a wonderfully entertaining, absorbing read. The stakes are high, the conflict compelling, and the sympathetic hero and heroine will make you fall in love with them. But the best thing about the novel is the writing itself. Lyric at times, Machado’s prose flows beautifully throughout the pages, bringing to life her fictional world in full, vivid detail.

The Curse Giver is a memorable adventure for fans of fantasy and one I can certainly recommend.

Find out more on Amazon or from Twilight Times Books.

Read my interview with the author here on Blogcritics.