Dora Machado on The Curse Giver & Inspiration @DoraMachado #Fantasy

Image of Dora Machado

Can you please share with us a little about yourself?

My name is Dora Machado and I’m one of the few Latinas writing epic romance fantasy and dark fantasy these days. I was born in Michigan but I grew up in the Dominican Republic, an island that has a special place in my heart. I’m a graduate of Georgetown University, where I majored in history and got my first taste of the medieval history that inspires many of my worlds. I live in Florida with my wonderful husband and three cats, one of which spends most of the writing day—and night—with me. I have two incredible kids who are out braving and exploring the world. I’m the author of the award-winning Stonewiser series and my newest release, The Curse Giver, my first standalone novel.

How long have you been writing?

In my mind, I’ve been writing all my life, but I really didn’t settle down to write in the full sense of the word until about seven years ago, when, for the first time, I had the time and opportunity to write my stories

When did you decide you wanted to become an author?

Even in my earliest memories, I was fascinated by books. As a child, I made up stories in my mind all the time. My teachers called it daydreaming, but I remember it as character development and plotting. No wonder I had such trouble with sixth grade math!

It took me a long time to realize that those stories in my head were actually novels that needed to be written. By the time I figured it out, I was a wife and a mom and, with a full-time job, I didn’t have the time to write. But as my children grew older and more independent, I realized that my time to write was coming at last. And when it did, I seized it and now I plan to keep at it for the duration.

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

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

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

I’m most proud of my kids, my family and my books, in that order.

Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?

Well, I suppose I’m kind of a rare bird, a Latina who writes epic fantasy, an American who grew up in the Dominican Republic. I think my diverse life experiences bring a different perspective to the genre. I’m also an avid traveler and I get a lot of inspiration for my books from my travels. Perhaps because I’m a student of the world at large, I like to inject fantasy with a healthy dose of gritty realism. I’m also a mother, daughter, sister, wife and friend, and I believe that romance, family and complex relationships enrich a fantasy novel and make it real.

What was your inspiration for The Curse Giver?

I was doing research for Stonewiser: The Lament of the Stone, the third book of the Stonewiser trilogy, when I came across a picture of an ancient curse, written on a stone tablet. It was a protective curse, a warning, and it struck me as a very effective way of stopping someone from doing something, an attempt at law enforcement, justice and mind control, all in one.

I started to research curses and became fascinated by how pervasive curses are to the human story. I came across many different types of curses from all kinds of belief systems and from all over the world. Even though they were all different, they were also very similar.

Then one night I dreamed—yes, I know, it’s cliché, but it’s the truth—I dreamed about this bitter lord, the last Lord of Laonia, who was caught in the grip of a mysterious curse that had doomed his line. Based on this powerful image, I came up with my premise and my heroine. In order to save his people from destruction, the Lord of Laonia has to hunt a birthmark and kill the woman who bears it in a very foul, very wicked way—but you’ll have to read the book to find out what that’s all about.

My heroine, Lusielle, bears the mark that the Lord of Laonia hunts. 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. But he is not her savior. On the contrary, he’s deadly to her. So this is how the story begins, with Lusielle wondering if she should heal the bitter lord who is pledged to kill her and the Lord of Laonia set to kill the only woman who could heal not just his body but also his soul.

What sort of personality does your hero have?

I like to say that Bren is a type-A personality gone desperate. At the beginning of the story, he comes across as arrogant, brash and bitter. In reality, his dire circumstances have forced him to become a person he doesn’t like. As Lusielle soon discovers, beneath all the anger and hostility he is brave, honorable and determined. He will not quit, not even when facing dismal odds and overwhelming force. He is also smart, decisive and loyal. He has a brilliant strategic mind and he is not afraid to challenge injustice and defy tyranny. Above all, he is a good man, fighting extraordinary evil while trying to do right by his people.

What sort of personality does your heroine have?

Lusielle is smart, kind, trustworthy, warm and caring, a true healer in all ways, a healer of bodies, minds and souls. She is incredibly competent at her craft, an excellent remedy mixer who studies her ingredients, understands how they work, and is always trying to create new and more effective cures. She is also resilient, open-minded, and uses her good instincts to see beyond appearances, blind beliefs and assumptions. Perhaps most importantly, Lusielle learns from her mistakes and has the courage to take risks, even when those risks involve the dangers of a forbidden relationship with a cursed outlaw who must kill her in order to survive.

Can you share with us your current work in progress?

I’m currently working on several different projects, including a contemporary dark fantasy with a Latin twist and another standalone fantasy romance that takes place in the world of The Curse Giver. It’s not a sequel, not exactly, but rather a related novel. It’s currently called The Soul Chaser.  Also, the Stonewiser series is coming out in audiobook. The first book of the trilogy, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, is already available at http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Stonewiser-Audiobook/B00F52CJIY/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1379186069&sr=1-1. Take a listen. It’s good, old-fashioned storytelling at its very best.

Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

Give a new writer a try today. Try something different that you hadn’t considered reading before. Try fantasy, for example, and open your senses to the idea of new and different worlds. Reading is the fastest, most convenient way of traveling, and our minds really need to travel.

Curse Giver

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

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

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Fantasy/Dark Fantasy

Rating – PG-18

More details about the author

Connect with Dora Machado on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.doramachado.com/

 

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sarah Krisch #Romance #AmReading

  1. I am a mother of three boys.  They keep me very busy with their myriad of activities!
  2. My full-time job is a manager in a large corporation, where I am constantly challenged to be a better leader.  I am very fortunate to work with such a great team of people.
  3. My husband is a full-time writer, Glen Krisch.  He writes horror and supernatural thrillers, which is quite a departure from my light-hearted romance.
  4. We have a major case of role-reversal in my home.  My husband works from home full-time, while I work outside of the home.  I am very lucky to have his support in pursuit of my business career, as well as my fledgling writing career.
  5. I am a vegetarian, and have been for more than 20 years.  It’s definitely not for everyone.  One of our kids claims to be a vegetarian, aside from the occasional corn dog.  Another would chase a cow across a field with a knife and fork.
  6. My dream vacation always includes a quiet beach.
  7. I love to craft.  I enjoy sewing, knitting, and painting.  Our middle son tells me he is going to be an artist when he grows up, so now that I have a partner in crime, I can shamelessly spend money on fabric, paint and whatever else strikes our fancy.
  8. My favorite way to relax is with a cup of tea and my Kindle.
  9. My favorite memories always include my siblings.  We have such fun together.  In a few weeks, some of us are going on a research trip to a ghost town for Glen’s next horror novel.
  10. I enjoy the outdoors.  I love to hike in the local canyons, view the waterfalls, and spot the wildlife.

Julia

A failed actress, twenty-something Julia McCarthy begins writing a fictionalized blog as a form of self-therapy. Based on her carefree summers at her grandparents’ farm, she never expects her little experiment to garner a viral following, but it does. Boy, does it ever.

Now, with thousands of loyal blog followers, and a syndication deal with the Chicago Herald, Julia is approached by GreenTV to adapt her blog into a TV show. The producers see her as a “Rachel Ray on the Prairie-type”. She sees herself as a fraud.

In Julia’s fictional world, she’s successful. She can pay her bills on time. Heck, she even has a fictional gorgeous husband and charming little boy. Ready to realize her dreams, Julia returns to her grandparents’ farm to shoot the TV pilot.

Brad Taylor is definitely not her type: he’s rugged, sensible, and oh-so smug about learning that Julia’s blog is a farce. As the manager of her grandparent’s farm, Brad doesn’t have time to deal with whimsical women who don’t even know how to cook.

Julia can’t allow her attraction to Brad to distract her, not when her dreams are about to come true. But are these truly her dreams, her good life?

A fun, fast (150 pages) contemporary romance

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Sarah Krisch on Facebook

Come & Chat with Vanna Smythe @Vanna_Smythe

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?

I would most certainly go into the past. I love the Middle Ages for some reason, though I would also love to travel back in time to the Roman Empire and Ancient Greece.

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?

I’ve limited myself to writers here.  This is my list: Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway, George RR Martin, Jane Austen and J.R.R. Tolkien.

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?

Pen, paper and chocolate.

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?

Mind reading.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Chocolate.

Night owl, or early bird?

Night owl. I only start getting productive after 5PM.

Skittles or M&Ms?

Definitely M&Ms.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

My story has love and hate, duty and honor, lies and deceit, happiness and sorrow, and  more, all wrapped up in a single package.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? 

I’m now finished my Anniversary of the Veil trilogy, and am already planning a new fantasy series. Though I might just write more books set in the Anniversary of theVeil world soon.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Vanna Smythe on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://vannasmythe.com/

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