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Archive for September 23rd, 2013

ImageAn action packed adventure.

The book opens with Captain Lopez, U.S. Special Forces hiding deep in the Amazon jungle, watching – the object of his observations is Eduardo Enrique, Bolivian drug lord and human trafficker.

Eduardo is a self-made man, a man who has learnt his lessons in the school of life and hard knocks. Having built up his empire with the help of his lifelong friend Benito, he is now rich, living the life of a playboy feeling secure in the knowledge that he’s surrounded by loyal staff and mercenaries, after all, is there anything money can’t buy?

With the scars of his life visible for all to see, and never having been a handsome man, he learns the hard way that women will use him, take advantage of his money, but in the end, they leave. However, a man with his extensive resources at his fingertips is not going to let this interfere with his fun, there are ways round everything, you just have to apply your mind and eventually a solution becomes apparent.

Then a U.S. Representatives daughter, celebrating her graduation with friends goes missing on holiday in Cancun, Mexico, her disappearance draws the attention of those in high places and her name is added to an existing list of missing women.

Politics is a clever game, politicians are always looking for opportunities, never missing the chance to shine as a hero to the American people, to stand out and be remembered for doing good. This is one such occasion, and combined with the added accolade of being seen to make a stand against the world of drug smuggling, its importance cannot be missed. Soon those who are in charge are making plans and the newly promoted Major Lopez, a man who is already up to speed with the subject, is given the task of handpicking a team of top Special Forces operatives to join him in this mission.

Soon the team find themselves deep in the heart of Bolivia, far into the Amazon rainforest, their mission underway, aware that they will be facing danger, both from nature and the powerful drug lord whose domain they are about to enter…

Written by an ex soldier, the military detail in this book is extensive and fascinating. I found myself transported deep into this dangerous world by the author’s highly descriptive writing and absorbing storyline in this action packed exciting epic novel.

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Extraction-ebook/dp/B008VDMB1O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1379519630&sr=1-1&keywords=extraction+by+gerald+patrick 

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

 

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Crypto_smDr. James Stone has a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering, and numerous international certifications in computer security. He has worked at NSA, NASA, and the Department of Defense in various capacities, as well as having been a professor of engineering at a major university. He recently retired from engineering and plans to devote himself to writing.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Crypto. What was your inspiration for it?

A: Decades working in the intelligence community. I just didn’t see books that portray life as I had experienced it.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist.

A: My protagonist is a late-20s female LAPD Homicide Detective. She decides to make a move to the National Security Agency and takes a job as a Special Agent. She goes through all the wickets of background checks, polygraph test, and indoctrination and reports to her new office. Within an hour, she’s given her first assignment to investigate why NSA controlled cryptographic chips are showing up in boxes hanging on the backs of highway signs. She knows literally nothing about cryptographics and is tossed into the deep end with essentially nothing more than a few ‘good lucks.’ To make it worse, there’s already a multi-agency task force headed by the FBI that wants to crawl all through NSA, even though the law prohibits it. How she copes makes up maybe the first third of the book.

Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?

A: I thought about this book for several decades, but didn’t want to write it until I retired from active participation in the security business. By the time I was ready to write, the book was full grown in my mind and just needed to be keyboarded.

Q: How do you keep your narrative exciting throughout the creation of a novel?

A: I see the story as a full-(extra?) length movie, scene after scene. If the scenes still excite me after all this time, then I figure it will others. Only the readers will be able to determine how well I’ve done.

Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it?

A: No. The keyboard excites me. I approach it with anticipation.

Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?

A: It’s just my wife and me, she is very supportive, and I am otherwise retired. I write when I want, sometimes most of a day, unless something like doing taxes interrupts.

Q: How do you define success?

A: I’m already a success! My first book has been published, and the second (a SCI-Fi this time) is half written and moving along smoothly.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?

A: I think my situation and life-experience is so different from most, my advice would not fit others.

Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?

A: No – emphatically.

CRYPTO is available on AMAZON and from Twilight Times Books

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The Curse GiverABOUT THE CURSE GIVER

Lusielle’s bleak but orderly life as a remedy mixer is shattered when her husband betrays her and 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 ends.

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The Story Behind The Curse Giver

By

Dora Machado

 

            The Curse Giver was an accident, a professional indiscretion, if you will, conceived during one of my little escapades, and born out of unchecked passion. Yep, I might as well come clean. Even the most disciplined writer can be unfaithful to her projects, and no matter how thoroughly taken one is with one’s current novel, the danger for a tangent is always there when venturing into the world of research.

So there I was, researching one book, working hard to finalize the Stonewiser series, when I came across this insidious concept that kept disrupting my train of thought.

Now, to understand the story behind The Curse Giver, you must understand me and my writing habits. I’m not easily distracted. When I’m writing a novel, my brain goes into hyper mode. I’m disciplined, motivated and focused to the point of obsession, which is why The Curse Giver was such a surprise to me.

The subject of curses has always fascinated me, not only because curses are such a vital part of magic and fantasy, but also because they are so prevalent to the human experience. To be honest, I had always been intrigued by the subject, but didn’t delve into it, until one very late night—or was it very early morning?—when the wind rattled my window as a coastal storm blew in from the sea.

The clay tablets that popped up on my screen dated from 600 BC and were part of the library of Nineveh, also known as the library of Ashurbanipal, the oldest surviving library of cuneiform tablets. This is the same collection that gave us the famous Gilgamesh epic. Visually, the tablets weren’t much to look at, chicken scratches on clay. But the translated words had an impact on me.

May all these [gods] curse him with a curse that cannot be relieved, terrible and merciless, as long as he lives, may they let his name, his seed, be carried off from the land, may they put his flesh in a dog’s mouth.”

I know, hardly an inspiration for most. Me? I immediately thought of the man who had been thus cursed, of the pain and hardship such curse would bring upon him and his people, of the character that eventually became Bren, Lord of Laonia in The Curse Giver.

From there on, the curses flowed before my eyes, mysterious ones from ancient civilizations in Egypt, India and the Far East; thin lead tablets dating from the Greco-Roman world, judicial prayers, secret invocations, warnings and love spells that streamed into my consciousness. I knew I should get back to my original research, and yet I was smitten with the subject.

There were curses quoted from the Bible, medieval curses, real and forgeries, Viking, Celtic, Germanic, Visigoth, Mayan, Incan, Hopi, you name it. There were ancient curses but also modern curses, some associated with Santeria, voodoo and the 21 Divisions, religions that are common in the Dominican Republic where I grew up.

Who would cast these curses and why? What kind of creature could be capable of such powers? What would motivate a person to curse another one? As I explored these questions, a character profile began to emerge in my mind, someone whose understanding of good and evil was very different from my own.

Sorting through the research, I could see that some curses had practical applications to make sure people did what they were told. They served as alternate forms of law enforcement in lawless societies. Some were obviously malicious. They were meant to frighten and intimidate. Some were more like venting or wishful thinking. It turns out that mankind has been casting curses since the beginning of time and will probably continue for as long as we have the imagination and faith to do so.

A new question formed in my mind. Once cursed, what could a person do to defend himself? A third character emerged from this question, Lusielle, a common remedy mixer, a healer of hearts and bodies, someone who didn’t realize the scope of her own power until it began to transform her life.

Eventually, I wrestled myself out of the trance. I had a book to write and a series to complete. I had deadlines. But my little detour had made an impact. The concepts were at work in my subconscious, coalescing into a new novel, fashioning these powerful characters who demanded their own story. My encounter with curses had been but a slight detour from my research plan, a tiny deviation, an indiscretion to my schedule, but the seed had been planted and The Curse Giver thrived, even if I didn’t know it yet.

doramachadoABOUT DORA MACHADO

Dora Machado is the award winning author of the Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, coming this summer from Twilight Times Books. She is one of the few Latinas exploring her heritage and her world through the epic fantasy genre today. She holds a master’s degree in business administration and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University. She was born in Michigan and grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a bilingual fascination for writing, a love for history, and a taste for Merengue. After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She enjoys long walks, traveling, and connecting with the amazing readers who share in her mind’s adventures. She lives in Florida with her indulging husband and three very opinionated cats.

You can visit her at www.doramachado.com

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