Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Curse Giver by Dora Machado: Character Interview and Excerpt


 







Character Interview: Jalenia, from The Curse Giver, a fantasy novel by Dora Machado.

Laurie: We’re thrilled to have Jalenia visiting with us today. She is the main villain from Dora Machado's new fantasy romance, The Curse Giver. Jalenia is an ageless curse giver who usually keeps her name and whereabouts secret. She's very mysterious, so don't expect to learn a lot from her. And beware: Whatever you do, don't try to mess with her. You don't really want the curse giver to turn her attention to you! 

Let's begin. Hi, Jalenia. It is a pleasure to have you with us at Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews.

Thank you, Laurie, I think. I don't do interviews often. More like never. But you seem like an interesting character yourself and I'm currently looking for work. Who knows? Maybe you or one of your readers needs a curse cast?
 
Ah, well, no, not really, no thank you. I don't think any of us need a curse cast. In fact I'm absolutely sure, so let's just get on with the interview, shall we? Do you feel you were fairly portrayed in The Curse Giver 

Fairly portrayed? Ha! I don't think so. Creatures like us are never fairly portrayed. We are secretive, devious and mysterious by nature. We don't like the spotlight. We believe in wickedness over goodness. We enjoy doing evil. We have to cast curses to exist, and yet people fear us because we do our job so well. Face it, villains never get fair press.
 

Do you feel the author did a good job with your character?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently? 

I'm afraid she might have painted me weak on a couple of occasions, but overall, I think Dora didn't mince words. I mean, I like being evil, and she got that, oh, yes, she wrote me just the way I am. She didn't make excuses for me. She didn't make me good, or friendly, or even caring, thank the gods. So what if the readers may loathe me? So what if I cursed the Lord of Laonia?  

Face it. The Lord of Laonia's father deserved to be cursed. He and his entire line deserved to suffer, all the way to the last of his sons, Bren, whose story is told in The Curse Giver. He was a fighter, that one. He wasn't willing to lay down his sword and wait for my curse to kill him like any reasonable man might have done. His sense of duty was as impressive as his endurance. I really enjoyed stringing him along. He waged a good fight. You must understand, I relish what I do and I enjoy a worthy opponent every so often. Heroes like Bren are hard to come by in my business. Fear usually neutralizes the cursed. Not Bren. He refused to be neutralized. He made it interesting for me.  

As to that remedy mixer, Lusielle, well, she had it coming. She thought maybe she was going to be able to defeat me with her potions, to heal the curse from the very man who was trying to kill her in order to survive and save his people from destruction. Little did she know about how foul and terrible her death would be in the hands of the man she tried to heal. Little did she know about the terrible secret that the Lord of Laonia kept from her until the very end. 
 

What is your strongest trait? 

I'm powerful, more powerful than any other curse giver that has ever existed. I've got good blood lines, excellent training, and I've lived a long time, which means I have the skills and expertise to cast a virulent curse. I can command the elements, travel swiftly through astonishing means, change my appearance almost at will, and kill the strongest man with but a twist of my wrist. I'm persistent, oh yes, tenacious like the Goddess herself. And I'm a planner. My curses are impregnable, carefully crafted to address contingencies, anticipate disruptions, and ensure my victim's demise. Finally, I'm merciless, selfish and wicked beyond redemption. These are the traits that make me the most powerful curse giver in the realms.
 

Worse trait? 

I don't have a worst trait. I consider myself the perfect curse giver. Shudder when you hear my name.
 

Do you have a love interest in the book? 

Love? Yuck. There's enough of that from Bren and Lusielle in the story. Those two fought off the forbidden attraction growing between them almost as hard as they fought their enemies and me. They were so different from each other. I never understood. What did Lusielle see in that bitter, wretched, cursed lord?  

Lusielle was a powerful healer, I understand that, but why would she want to heal the very man who was destined to kill her? I mean, what kind of madness fuels that type of compassion? I never did figure all of that out. 

If you ask me, love is a pretty disgusting ailment. It makes the heart weak and the mind feeble. Lust, on the other hand, is a bit more interesting, something that perhaps I might consider to ease my boredom from time to time. There's this creature that I had to work closely with there at the end the story, a traveler of the dark realms like myself, a soul chaser who claims the souls of the cursed when I'm done with them. To satisfy a fit of lust, he wouldn't be bad. But love? Please.
 

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Nervous? Me? Ha.  

I'll admit that Lusielle gave me a few surprises along the way. She ended up being stronger, more skilled and resilient than I had anticipated. Perhaps I should have taken care of her early on, when I killed—well, I can't really tell you what I did, can I? Lusielle's wits turned out to be more impressive than most.  

As to Bren, Lord of Laonia, he was all brawn, wrath and desperation, easy to tease, mock and mislead, until he found Lusielle and, together, they tried to defeat my curse. Fools. She gave him hope. Hope is another disgusting emotion, a dangerous delusion. Have I told you how much I relish tearing people's hopes to shreds? It's extraordinarily fun. You ought to try it sometime.
 

Oh, well, no thank you, shredding hope is not really my thing. Moving on: If you had to trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? 

I wouldn't want to be Brennus, Lord of Laonia, because if I were him, I wouldn't have him to torture, would I? Also, I treasured the man's hatred for me. Loathing, hatred and revulsion are thrilling, satisfying emotions worth living for. I cherished the Lord of Laonia as my enemy because he refused to forget and forgive. He knew that I was dangerous and would always remain so. He was a creature after my own heart and I will forever relish the scent of his scarred soul.
 

How do you feel about the ending of the book, without giving too much away? 

Doomed and damned are the souls of the cursed. Useless are their struggles.  I'm the curse giver and you, you will always be my prey.


What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it? 

Embrace the wickedness within and you will find me; relish it and you will understand me.
 

Thank you for this interview, curse giver Jalenia.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future? 

Perhaps if The Soul Chaser has a story to tell, I'll be in it, for cursed souls rarely live for long and the soul chaser must come.

 
 
 
The Curse Giver
Dora Machado
Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Romantic Fantasy, Fantasy Romance, Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
ISBN: 978-1-60619-289-4
ASIN: B00DSUQL4I
Number of pages: 420
Word Count: 165,000 aprox.
Cover Artist: Brad Fraunfelter
 Long Description:
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. 
 The Curse Giver Chapter One
    Dread stared at Lusielle from the depths of the rowdy crowd. Concealed under a heavy hood, only the stranger’s black eyes dared to meet her gaze among the growing throng. The man’s eyes refused to flinch or shift from her face. His stare was free of the hatred she had gotten from the others, but also devoid of mercy. He held on to her gaze like an anchor to her soul, testing her fortitude, knowing full well her fears’ vast range.
She had always been meant for the fire. Even as she had escaped the blaze that killed her parents and burned the inn to the ground, Lusielle had known that the flame’s greedy god would return to claim her life. But she hadn’t expected it to happen after days of torture, surrounded by the raging mob, found guilty of a crime she didn’t commit, betrayed and condemned. 
The town’s cobbler, one of her husband’s best customers, tightened the noose around her neck until it cut off her breath. She had waited on him countless times at the shop, and had always padded his order with a free measure of coriander to help with his wife’s cough.
But none of the town’s inhabitants seemed to remember any of her kindnesses as of late. On the contrary, the crowd was booing and jeering when they weren’t pelting her with rotten fruit. They treated her as if she were a common thief. 
The brute who had conducted her torture shoved the cobbler aside, tying her elbows and wrists around the wooden stake. Orell. She remembered his name. His bearded face might have been handsome if not for the permanent leer. Like the magistrate, he wore the king’s burgundy colors, but his role had been more vicious. Had he been granted more time, he might have succeeded at extracting the false confession he wanted, but the magistrate was in a hurry, afraid of any possible unrest. 
Orell yanked on the ropes, tightening her bonds. The wound on her back broke open all over again. She swallowed a strangled hiss. It was as if the thug wanted her to suffer, as if he had a private reason to profit from her pain.  
But she had never seen him until three days ago, when he and the magistrate had shown up unannounced, making random accusations.  
Lusielle couldn’t understand any of this.  
She knew that the king’s justice was notoriously arbitrary. It was one of the main reasons why she loathed living under King Riva’s rule. But she also knew better than to express her opinion. Ruin and tragedy trailed those who dared to criticize the king. That’s why she had never mentioned her misgivings to anyone.  
What had she done to deserve this fate? And why did they continue to be so cruel? After all, she wasn’t fighting them anymore.  
True, she had resisted at first. Out of fear and pride, she had tried to defend herself. But in the end, it hadn’t mattered. Her accusers had relied on the testimony of the devious liar who had turned her in—Aponte Rummins—her own husband. 
The mock hearing had been too painful to bear, too absurd to believe. Aponte swore before the magistrate that Lusielle was a secret practitioner of the forbidden odd arts. It was ridiculous. How could anyone believe that she, who had always relied on logic, measure and observation to mix her remedies, could possi¬bly serve the Odd God’s dark purposes? And how could anyone believe Aponte’s lies? 
But they did, they believed him as he called on his paid witnesses and presented fabricated evidence, swearing that he himself had caught her at the shop, worshipping the Odd God. In the end, it had been her husband’s false testimony that provided the ultimate proof of the heinous charge for which Lusielle was about to die.  
Burning torch in hand, the magistrate stepped forward. Still in shock, Lusielle swallowed a gulp of bitter horror and steeled for the flames’ excruciating pain. She didn’t want to die like a shrieking coward. But nothing could have prepared her for what happened next.  
The magistrate offered the torch to Aponte. 
“The king upholds a husband’s authority over his wife in the kingdom,” the magistrate shouted for the crowd to hear. “There can be no protests, no doubt of the wisdom of royal justice if a husband does as he’s entitled to do by his marital rights.” 
Aponte could have forgone her execution. Considering the magistrate’s proclamation, he could have chosen a different punishment for her. Instead, he accepted the torch and, without hesitation, put the flame to the tinder and blew over the kindling to start the fire.  
“Go now,” he said, grinning like a hog about to gorge. “Go find your dark lord.”  
Lusielle glared at the poor excuse for a man who had ruined her life many times over. She had known from the beginning that he was fatally flawed, just as he had known on the day he claimed her that she couldn’t pledge him any affection.  
But Aponte had never wanted her affection. He had wanted her servitude, and in that sense she proved to be the reluctant but dutiful servant he craved. 
Over the years he had taught her hatred. 
His gratification came from beating and humiliating her. His crass and vulgar tastes turned his bed into a nightmare. She felt so ashamed of the things he made her do. Still, even if she loathed him—and not just him, but the slave she had become under his rule—she had tried to make the best of it.  
She had served him diligently, tending to his businesses, reorganizing his stores, rearranging his trading routes and increasing his profits. His table had always been ready. His meals had been hot and flavorsome. His sheets had been crisp and his bed had been coal-warmed every night. Perhaps due to all of this, he had seemed genuinely pleased with their marital arrangement. 
Why, then, had he surrendered her so easily to the magistrate’s brute? 
Aponte had to have some purpose for this betrayal. He was, above all, a practical man. He would not surrender all the advantages that Lusielle brought to him—money, standing, common sense, business acumen—without the benefit of an even greater windfall. 
Lusielle couldn’t understand how, but she was sure that the bastard was going to profit handsomely from her death. 
The scent of pine turned acrid and hot. Cones crackled and popped. The fire hissed a sinister murmur, a sure promise of pain. She didn’t watch the little sparks grow into flames at her feet. Instead, her eyes returned to the back of the crowd, seeking the stranger’s stare. She found him even as a puff of white smoke clouded her sight and the fire’s rising heat distorted his scarred face’s fixed expression.  
The nearing flames thawed the pervasive cold chilling her bones. Flying sparks pecked at her skin. Her toes curled. Her feet flinched. Pain teased her ankles in alarming, nipping jolts. Dear gods. They were really going to burn her alive!
Lusielle shut her eyes. When she looked again, the stranger was gone from the crowd. She couldn’t blame him. She would have never chosen to watch the flame’s devouring dance. 
A commotion ensued somewhere beyond the pyre. People were screaming, but she couldn’t see through the flames and smoke. She flinched when a lick of fire ignited her shift’s hem. A vile stink filled her lungs. Her body shivered in shock. She coughed, then hacked. Fear’s fiery fingers began to torment her legs.  
“Come and find me,” she called to the God of fire.  
      And he did. 
For a free excerpt of The Curse Giver, visit  http://twilighttimesbooks.com/TheCurseGiver_ch1.html
 
About the Author
 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 July 2013. 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  
Subscribe to her blog at http://www.doramachado.com/blog/ , sign up for her newsletter at http://doramachado.com/newsletter.php  and follow her on Facebook and  Twitter.  
For a free excerpt of The Curse Giver, visit http://twilighttimesbooks.com/TheCurseGiver_ch1.html
 
About Dora Machado's Novels:
Dora Machado is the award winning author of the Stonewiser trilogy and her newest novel, The Curse Giver. She is one of the few Latinas exploring her heritage and her world through the epic fantasy genre today. Her first novel, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, won the 2009 Benjamin Franklin award for best debut novel. Her second novel, Stonewiser: The Call of the Stone, won the 2010 Independent Publishers Book Award's (IPPY) Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy book of the year. Her third novel, Stonewiser: The Lament of the Stone, won the 2012 Independent Publishers Book Award's (IPPY) Silver Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy book of the year. All three novels were finalists in ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Award in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Category. Her latest novel, The Curse Giver from Twilight Times Books is available July 2013.
Twitter: @DoraMachado or https://twitter.com/DoraMachado
Amazon Author Central: www.amazon.com/author/doramachado
 
 

Curse Giver Tour Giveaway Details

 

Subscribe to Dora Machado's blog and/or newsletter and enter for a chance to win:

 

1) One of three autographed books of Dora Machado's Stonewiser Series.

Or

2) One of ten special edition bracelets commemorating The Curse Giver's EBook release.

This handcrafted, customized, limited-edition, 1/4 inch aluminum bracelet from Silver Statements is hammered and stamped with The Curse Giver's signature message—Knowledge, Reason and Awareness, and flanked by the stylized outline of butterfly wings. Inside, the bracelet is stamped with the word Strength. Aluminum is a great metal for jewelry. It won't turn your skin green, doesn't oxidize or tarnish, and its water safe. Plus it's so lightweight that you might even forget you're wearing it.

For a chance at one of The Curse Giver's limited edition bracelets subscribe now at:


And/or


Yes, you double your chances when you subscribe to both the blog and the newsletter!

 


Giveaway Terms and Condition:

New subscribers to the blog and/or newsletter will automatically qualify to participate. Names will be selected at random from the list of new subscribers on November 15, 2013. Subscribers will be notified via e-mail. Winners will be asked to provide a mailing address for delivery.

1 comment:

Dora Machado said...

Hi Laurie! Thank you so much for your beautiful feature of The Curse Giver in your blog. I really appreciate it! Have a wonderful day and best wishes for you and your readers.