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Margaret L. Carter's News from the Crypt No. 81 (June 2012)

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  • MargaretC
    Welcome to the June 2012 issue of my newsletter, “News from the Crypt,” and please visit Carter s Crypt (www.margaretlcarter.com), devoted to my
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2012
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      Welcome to the June 2012 issue of my newsletter, “News from the Crypt,” and please visit Carter's Crypt (www.margaretlcarter.com), devoted to my horror, fantasy, and paranormal romance work, especially focusing on vampires and shapeshifting beasties. If you have a particular fondness for vampires, check out the chronology of my series in the link labeled "Vanishing Breed Vampire Universe." For my recommendations of "must read" classic and modern vampire fiction, explore the Realm of the Vampires:
      www.simegen.com/reviews/vampires/vamprelm.htm

      Also, check out the multi-author Alien Romance Blog: http://www.aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/

      And please visit the website of the Infinite World of Fantasy Authors: http://www.iwofa.net/

      Fictionwise.com sells quite a few of my e-books as well as my short stories from various anthologies, such as Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Sword and Sorceress” series. Search “Margaret Carter”:
      http://www.fictionwise.com

      Here’s the list of my Kindle books on Amazon. (The final page, however, includes some Ellora’s Cave anthologies in which I don’t have stories):
      http://tinyurl.com/7ypz23e

      Night Owl Reviews gave “Wizard’s Trap” 4 stars, calling it “a wonderfully written paranormal romance. . . . The storyline is compelling, tantalizing and perfectly paced”:
      http://www.nightowlreviews.com/nor/Reviews/Heather-reviews-Wizards-Trap-by-Margaret-L-Carter.aspx

      All three of my Amber Quill Press Amber Heat novellas, “Aquatic Ardor,” “Allure of the Beast,” and “Blood Hostage,” can now be read in print in the trade paperback collection ARDENT BLOOD. Below is an excerpt from “Aquatic Ardor,” starring an undine who unwillingly falls in love with her human neighbor. You can find the paperback here:

      http://www.amberquill.com/AmberHeat/ArdentBlood.html

      I’m interviewing romance author Annette Snyder this time.

      *****

      Interview with Annette Snyder:

      1. What inspired you to begin writing?
      I always wrote a little here and there. I found those essays I was forced to write in high school a little intriguing but never went beyond that. In college, I took a creative writing class that I enjoyed. My professor said I had talent but I chose to begin life without giving writing a second thought. One day, my father in law gave me an old computer. He said, “You can use it for that creative imagination.” I played games for a couple of years and one day, I woke up remembering this crazy dream I had about two men in a forest and I typed it up. That story grew to four not yet published storiesâ€"someday perhapsâ€"after I’ve refined them a bit more. Since then, I’ve been through four of five computers and published fourteen novels. I’ve always got something in the works.

      2. What genres do you write in?
      Currently, I’ve got three genre eras. My 1800’s Travis Pass romantic adventure series, My contemporary romance series involving the Packard family beginning with 2011 EPIC Award finalist, Intimate Flames and my WWII series which started with Viveka’s War, follows one character to Florida in Eureka Springs and ends with my latest release, Respectable Affair set as a prequel.

      3. Do you outline, "wing it," or something in between?
      I just wing it. When I get an idea for a story, I type ideas as fast as I can and plug things in here and there ignoring spelling and grammar altogether. Once I get the basic idea’s down, I start from the beginning and put in all the details. It works well until one of my characters goes commando and changes the whole story. That happened in Viveka’s War and I was shocked but I worked with it. It’s the same when I’m working on one book and a character from another story bugs me until I pause and write a note about that. I guess I’m a little guided by the voices in my headâ€"but in a good way.

      4. Do you write historical novels set mostly in a single time and place or do you switch among different eras and locations? What's your favorite historical period?
      Writing late 1800’s is my favorite period. I’m fortunate that I’m only a 3rd generation American. My Great-Grandparents immigrated early in the 1900’s when they were very young and started families. When I was born in the sixties, I had three sets of grandparents on both sides of the family and they told amazing stories. I paid attention to fascinating tales of treks across oceans on huge boats and anecdotes about life without electricity or cars. One day, as an adult, a dear friend told me a story her father reported to her about how her family came to America and Travis Pass was born. Of course, each time I start a new novel, that’s my favorite.

      5. What kind of research do you do for historical fiction?
      The internet is an amazing resource. For my WWII series, I’d ask my Grandmas what they did during that time. When I began that series, they were both in their nineties and a remarkable wealth of knowledge. They’ve both passed in the last three years, Frieda was a few months shy of 100 and Frances was ninety-four. How lucky was I to be fifty and still have grandmothers! How lucky my children were to be in their twenties and have two great-grandmothers who were still very much with it.

      6. Please tell us about your "Fifty Authors from Fifty States" blog. How did you get the idea for it?
      I used to help a remarkable woman with her blog and I enjoyed it but it was time consuming. When I stopped that, I knew I wanted to start my own but I didn’t want to give up my writing time for blog time and I don’t really have that much to say to keep a blog current. Then I decided that I probably wasn’t the only writing professional who had that problem. I merged my love of travel and finding the little secret spots of communities with my writing and recruited people from each state to get Fifty Authors from Fifty States, a blog that highlights every aspect of the writing world from authors to publishers and their inspiration for why they do what they do relating it to where they live.

      7. What is your latest or next-forthcoming book (or both)?
      Respectable Affair released in May. The third installment of my WWII series tells the story of Virginia Seidle and Nolan Vickers and their lives spent protecting a woman who can’t help herself.

      8. What are you working on now?
      Right now, I’m working on book three of my Packard family series, Going Twice. A mistrusting female auctioneer meets a handsome insurance agent who’s got aversions to relationships of his own.

      9. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
      Write what comes to you in your own styleâ€"find your niche and keep doing it as long as you love it.

      10. What's your website URL? Where else can we find you on the web?
      Find me here: http://annettesnyder.atspace.com
      http://annettesnyder.blogspot.com
      www.whiskeycreekpress.com
      www.fictionwise.com and its affiliates or at many online stores and several stores across Nebraska. If you’re passing through, stop and enjoy the scenery, rich history and culture of the eclectic Midwest.


      *****

      Some Books I've Read Lately:

      THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE, by Stephen King. King labels this Dark Tower side story 4.5 in the series. During an interlude while they take shelter from a devastating windstorm called a starkblast, Roland the gunslinger tells his ka-tet (Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and the billy-bumbler Oy, an intelligent, doglike animal native to Roland’s world) an adventure from his youth. As the author says in his introduction, this novel can stand alone even for a reader new to the Dark Tower universe. The introduction provides all the backstory needed. The frame takes up a small proportion of the text. Two nested tales make up most of the book. Soon after the death of Roland’s mother (at his own hand) his father sends Roland and another young gunslinger to a small salt-mining town to investigate reports of a skin-man, a shapechanger. Not exactly a werewolf, this creature can shift among several monstrous forms. Numerous people have been killed already. Immediately after Roland’s arrival in town, a massacre takes place at a nearby ranch. Only one boy survives, the only person to have caught even a glimpse of the skin-man in human form. Images of slaughter and the mind-twisting scene of the creature’s transformation when Roland and the local lawman trap him make this part of the novel classic King horror. In the middle of this adventure, while waiting for the roundup of suspects, Roland distracts the terrified, bereaved boy with a traditional Mid-World story Roland’s mother used to read to him. This section has more of a fairy-tale tone. After young Tim’s father, a woodcutter, is supposedly killed by a dragon in the forbidding depths of the forest, his mother remarries to an old friend in order to save their home from the tax collector. The story that follows includes a wicked stepfather, a quest into the wilderness, dark and light magic, unexpected enemies and helpers, strange beasts, and even a glimpse of Maerlyn, court magician to the legendary king Arthur Eld. I found the conclusion deeply satisfying, though I wish King had told us more about Tim’s later life, only hinted at with the repeated remark, “that is a tale for another time.” THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE is shorter than the average Stephen King novel, a quick and enjoyable read for either new readers or long-time fans of the Dark Tower universe.

      UNDER A VAMPIRE MOON, by Lynsay Sands. This latest installment in the Argeneau family universe reverts to the tone of romantic comedy dominant in the early books of the series rather than the more serious suspense plots of some of the later novels. The climactic scenes of UNDER A VAMPIRE MOON do reveal a threat against the heroine, but the fun of the story is never marred by any feeling (on the reader’s part) that she’s in dire danger. Carolyn, nearing the conclusion of a painful, drawn-out divorce proceeding, is over forty years old, a nice change from the youthful heroines of most romance novels. Her age plays a vital part in driving the plot. Two of her friends persuade her to take a Caribbean vacation to get over her emotionally abusive, financially exploitive ex-husband. There she meets 500-year-old vampire Christian, a musician in a band. She’s attracted to him but thinks he’s in his twenties, and she can’t embrace the idea of having a fling with a man young enough to be her son. Christian almost immediately realizes Carolyn is his life mate. His matchmaking mother wants to get them together, as do his other relatives. One of his cousins has the bright idea of telling Carolyn that he’s gay and needs a woman to pretend to be his girlfriend in order to deceive the rest of the family. Sands weaves delightful screwball comedy from this often-used premise. Christian has to spend hours with Carolyn while hiding both his vampire nature and his decidedly heterosexual lust for her, not to mention his violent jealousy of any man who touches or even looks appreciatively at her. Carolyn, meanwhile, feels guilty for her steamy reaction to this poor, put-upon gay guy who’s too young for her anyhow. The many close calls are consistently funny, and Carolyn is a truly sympathetic character. Although having read earlier books would give the reader a helpful familiarity with the Argeneau family’s background and the author’s theory of vampirism, this novel could stand alone as an entry to the series for a new reader. No information is absolutely necessary beyond what’s included within the current story.

      CINNAMON ROSES, by Renee M. Charles (Circlet Press, 2012). This small press collection of vampire erotica explores byways seldom visited in mass-market urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Often featuring vampires as first-person narrators, these stories include creatures from exotic folklore of countries such as Greece, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Charles draws upon the original legends to give her characters, who roam the night in contemporary urban settings, traits that are authentic as well as unusual. The title story debunks the cliches of the literary and film vampire in witty style. My favorite tale in this collection is “Mist Kisses,” about a Gypsy dhampir, destined from birth to slay vampires and yet fascinated by their allure. This author writes graphic sexual encounters but without overuse of “four-letter words” or an emphasis on mechanics at the expense of emotions. The characters’ feelings remain in the foreground, and the sex always serves the plot rather than overshadowing it. Her writing displays a gift for vivid, multi-sensory description, especially in the use of color and scent. Recommended for fans of erotic vampire fiction.

      A SCHOOL FOR VILLAINS (DARK LORD ACADEMY), by Ardyth DeBruyn. A humorous twist on the ever-popular magic school trope. Danny, second son of a blacksmith, lives in a world where magic or maybe just the nature of reality steers people toward the archetypal roles they’re born to fill, a little like Mercedes Lackey’s Five Hundred Kingdoms. So of course this realm holds a Dark Lord Academy as well as a school for would-be heroes. All Danny wants to do is grow up to work at the forge, as he has trained for all along. It doesn’t bother him that his older brother will inherit the blacksmith shop. However, their father wants to get his two younger sons set up independently, and the third son, naturally, is destined for the hero role. That leaves Dark Lord Academy for Danny, who has no desire to become a villain. From the first moment Danny sets foot in the stereotypically menacing castle where the school operates, he directs all his efforts toward getting expelled. Unfortunately, his actions keep getting misinterpreted as subtle forms of villainy. His original plan to accumulate demerits doesn’t work; nobody gets thrown out for that. The embellishing details are inventive and funny. Upon arrival, all students are assigned villainous names, composed of unpronounceable combinations of letters. (Dark Lord Danny would sound ridiculous, and even Daniel is more of a name for a hero.) Danny’s begins with Z, so most people call him Zixy. The closest person he has to a friend, an incongruously amiable and cheerful girl who throws herself with zest into the grueling classes, receives a name starting with D and insists on being called Daisy. When minions are assigned to new students, Danny doesn’t get a cool creature such as a gargoyle but a pitiful, monkey-like familiar he names Puke. Danny does make friends, sort of, among the aspiring villains, as well as making the inevitable enemies the protagonist of a boarding school story always acquires. He also runs afoul of an apprentice hero who decides to claim Danny as an arch-enemy, and they exchange amusing taunts by mail. Although the tone remains lightâ€"for the reader, at least; to the characters, of course, the events are deadly seriousâ€"Danny gets caught in situations where he has to analyze the nature of good and evil. Do these labels accurately describe the true moral status of people? Do good and evil depend on motive, results, or both? By the story’s climax, the black and white morality implied at the beginning of the novel has become much more nuanced, and Danny ends his first year at Dark Lord Academy on a high note. The only reservation I have about this novel is Danny’s reaction when he thinks he has accidentally killed someoneâ€"little or no hint of guilt, only fear of getting caught. In general it was fun to read, though. The book certainly leaves room for sequels; however, the end of the book doesn’t mention future installments, and Amazon doesn’t list any.

      *****

      Excerpt from “Aquatic Ardor”:


      Alien sounds rippled over the water and filtered through it to stir the pondweed and stargrass on the floor of the lake. Voices. Her senses, permeating the liquid that embodied her, resonated with one of those voices. She had heard and seen land folk walking on her banks from time to time, but most of them had been strangers. Could this person be her boy?

      No, not a boy. He had been a man for a long time. Human time flowed so swiftly that she lost track of the years. How long had she waited, one with the water of her home, to hear that voice? Why did he come here so seldom now? The vibrations emanating from him woke her memory. Yes, he had visited as a man, but not often enough. No wonder she'd forgotten the changes in him.

      The weeds on the lake bed undulated as if swept by a gust of wind. A miniature whirlpool coalesced into a slender, four-limbed shape topped with hair and a face. Slowly Melia gathered her substance from all parts of the lake to concentrate it into human form. Now she saw only what fell within range of her eyes, but her vision became clearer, less diffuse. She could still hear the voices talking. Now, when she raised her head above the surface in woman's shape, she could understand their language.

      "One-acre waterfront lots," said one of the men. A stranger. "The houses will get snapped up as soon as they're built. Of course, there's septic permits and stuff like that to take care of, but I don't anticipate any problems."

      "I haven't definitely decided to sell." That voice reverberated through Melia like a summer thunderstorm. "I'm still thinking about it."

      *It's him. Adam.*

      "You'd be crazy not to," the first man said. "Lakefront property an hour's drive from Richmond? We're looking at units priced in the high six figures, easily. That's why I can make you such a great offer." A low chuckle. "Not holding out for more, are you?"

      Her man answered with a hint of warm laughter in his voice. "Hardly. Not a thing wrong with the offer. I just have to be completely sure first. This land has been in my family since 1931."

      "It's not like I'm going to ruin the place. I'm talking low density, scenic views, sailboats. And you get to keep your house and a good-size slice of land around it." The voices grew fainter, drifting away from the shore. "I'll be in touch again soon, and meanwhile, you've got my number."

      Submerged up to her chest, surrounded by floating water lilies, Melia leaned against a bank under a weeping willow, her chin pillowed on her folded arms. She understood little of what she'd heard, with most of her knowledge of the human world limited to snatches of conversation she'd listened to over the years. She got only one clear impression…that change threatened her home. The strange man wanted to replace part of her woods with human dwellings. Although she'd missed her boy--no, her man--during his long absences, she didn't want dozens more mortals tearing up trees and plants, bringing noise and artificial odors with them. She sighed with pleasure at the breeze stirring the humid air and inhaled the green aromas of leaves and pine needles. Now that the men had walked out of hearing range, the only sounds were the chirping of birds and the skittering of squirrels in the branches. She wanted to keep her lake exactly like this, sharing it with nobody except the man who'd at last returned from wherever he'd gone.

      As a child, he had spent weeks here every summer. Vaguely aware of his parents and the young friends he'd sometimes brought with him, Melia had focused her attention on Adam. Although she'd cherished a mild fondness for his father and grandfather and even dallied with them in their youth, he was the only one who'd come here often enough for her to truly know him. She had watched him grow from year to year. She missed the fun of making the water swirl and eddy around him, startling him with splashes and miniature waterspouts. She'd enjoyed the sensation of enveloping his strong, blood-warmed flesh and sliding over his skin, making him shiver with delight. As he'd changed from a half-grown boy into a young man, she'd reveled in his body's response to her liquid caresses. Catching him alone, she'd often teased one part of him to urgent hardness. She'd submerged him up to the neck and yearned to draw him below the surface where she could embrace him completely. But she knew no mortal could survive that total union.

      Only once, she had dared to appear to him in human form, as she'd never done with the others. She remembered the thrill of his heat blanketing her cool skin, his arms caging her, his organ jutting against her stomach. He'd thrown his head back and closed his eyes in a trance of ecstasy when she'd engulfed him. At the moment of his climax, she'd dissolved into her native element to flow over his entire body at once and savor every convulsion of his release. Then she'd guided him to the bank under the shelter of a tree, where he'd drifted into sleep. After that one encounter, she'd known she couldn't risk repeating the pleasure. He'd grown too old to accept her presence without question. Among the sparse facts she knew about human beings, one thing she understood too well. In this age, few of them believed in magic. Revealing herself to Adam would have only confused and frightened him.

      Now, though, she would have to dare the unthinkable. To discover what he planned for the lake, she would have to show herself in human shape. She would have to become a woman and meet him face to face, perhaps lure him into her arms. She couldn't make her plea outright. What could she say? "I'm an undine, a water elemental, and this water belongs to me, so you can't let anybody else have it." He would laugh at her. If she seduced him, though, shared pleasure with him the way she had so many years before, she could bring up the subject while his guard was down. Surely that way she could persuade him not to let other people invade this place and spoil her home.

      -end of excerpt-

      *****

      Two fiction-related newsletters you might enjoy:

      Jewels of the Quill, a writers' group I belong to, has a newsletter for fans:
      For more information, visit:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FansofJewelsoftheQuill/
      To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to:
      FansofJewelsoftheQuill-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

      Moonlight Fantasy, devoted to erotic romance:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Moonlight_Fantasy

      My Publishers:

      Amber Quill Press: www.amberquill.com
      Cerridwen Press: www.cerridwenpress.com
      Ellora's Cave: www.ellorascave.com
      Harlequin/Silhouette: www.eharlequin.com
      Hard Shell Word Factory: www.hardshell.com
      Mundania Press: www.mundania.com

      You can contact me at: MLCVamp@...

      "Beast" wishes until next timeâ€"
      Margaret L. Carter
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