Margaret L. Carter's News from the Crypt No. 84 (September 2012)
- View SourceWelcome to the September 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:
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/
Here's where you can order all issues of my discontinued fanzine, THE VAMPIRE'S CRYPT, in bargain bundles of two or three issues each:
This is my Facebook author page. Please visit!
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":
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):
And now there's a shortcut URL to my author page on Amazon:
My erotic fantasy romance novella "Dragon's Tribute" has a beautiful new cover, which I've uploaded to the Photos section of this Yahoo group. There's a teaser from "Dragon's Tribute" below.
This fall, pioneering erotic romance publisher Ellora's Cave is celebrating its twelfth anniversary. As one of their "decade or more" authors (imagine that!), I have a guest post on Ann Jacobs's blog. I discuss my first sale to EC and will give away a free Ellora's Caveman 2013 calendar to a randomly chosen commenter. I'll pick the winner at the end of this week:
Also, EC is having special anniversary sales, and my first vampire romance with them, "Night Flight," will be on sale the week of September 10.
I'm happy to announce that EC has accepted my paranormal romance novella "Calling Back Love" for November publication as part of their "Hex Appeal" (Witches and Wizards) theme month.
I'm interviewing vampire fiction author Cera duBois.
Interview with Cera duBois:
What inspired you to begin writing?
I started writing back in high school when I got an idea for a story that wouldn't let me go. I ended up writing the novel as a journaling assignment my junior year.
1. What genres do you write in?
I write both paranormal and contemporary Westerns.
2. Do you outline, "wing it," or something in between?
I wing it. I'm a pantser for the most part, but I do like having an idea of where the story is going.
3. How do you combine writing with a demanding full-time day job?
Oh, that I think varies depending on the day. I some days I look back and wonder how I got it all done.
4. What do you think explains the appeal of vampires? Which vampire works have influenced you?
I think it's the romance (as in the glamour) of living forever, of never getting sick, of never getting old. But vampires are also vulnerable. The sun could kill them (if that's the myth you enjoy), they are usually tortured souls. At least, this is what attracts me.
5. Please tell us about your vampires. Are they the classical traditional type or something different? What unique traits do they have?
For the most part, my vampires follow traditional (Dracula/Anne Rice) type of vampires. Here are ten things that I've used to develop my own myth within my world.
1. My vampires are undeadnot really alive, but not dead either. They are considered immortal and the only thing that can kill a vampire is stabbing through the heart with either a silver dagger, a hawthorn stake, or decapitation by a silver blade.
2. They were created by the arch demon Asmodi, the prince of the Incubi/Succubae.
3. Although older vampires can be out during the day, no vampire can be out during the sunrise. Withstanding daylight comes around age 100.
4. They must drink blood live from a human and the desire to kill is almost unbearable. They can't drink bagged blood and animal blood can't be used long term or they will go insane. They also can't drink blood from each other (mates can share blood, but this only strengthens their mate bond and can't provide nourishment).
5. My vampires have fangs, which are similar to snake fangs, and like snakes, they are venomous. The venom does several things if enough blood is taken from a victim and enough venom induced. The most basic thing is it gives the person being bitten an almost orgasmic feeling. But if enough blood is taken, the venom creates a blood bond between the vampire and the human (the first step in siring a vampire. With this bond, a vampire can find a fledgling anywhere in the world). The venom also causes the physical changes to a fledgling's body (second step in the siring process.)
6. Vampire siring is a three-step process, requiring three bites. The first bite is to create a blood bond (if enough blood is taken). Step two (second bite) triggers the venom to start the changing process. The last bite is to drain the body of the poisoned blood to kill the fledgling. The venom is what keeps the fledgling from crossing over the barrier between life/true death. Then the fledgling has to take blood from the sire to complete the change.
7. My vampires can't read the minds of other vampires/werewolves. However, if they have a blood bond, they can. The bond between mates (the strongest of all bonds) allows them to share thoughts and sexual sensations magnifying the pleasure they both feel.
8. They have the power of mind control and manipulation over humans, they have superhuman strength and speed (they can move faster than the speed of sound). They can't dematerialize, but because they are so fast, they do seem to disappear before the eye.
9. Vampires in my world have reflections and can be photographed and videotaped; however, they have the power to prevent these things and can use their powers to cause disturbances with video equipment.
10. The only non-blood thing my vamps can drink is red wine A gift from Asmodi and his father Satan as the ultimate blasphemy in the face of God. Red wine is used by Christian churches to represent the blood of Christ. So, if vampires can drink red wine, they are drinking the blood of Jesus.
7. What is your latest or next-forthcoming book (or both)?
My latest release is A Hunter's Angel: Here's the blurb:
The serial killer stalking Clayton, Pennsylvania, isn't all that has Chief of Police Grace Wallace worried. For a year, she's tried to forget Special Agent Ian McHenry and now he's the expert the FBI sent to catch the killer. She can't stay away from him, but something primal is telling her to run to save much more than just her heart. Despite the strict code of ethics Ian vowed to follow as a vampire hunter, he craves Grace's blood above all others. If he chooses to stay, Ian risks losing his chance at divine forgiveness. But if he leaves Grace unprotected from the evil he's hunted for over a century, he loses more than just his soul
My next book is my debut contemporary Western Gambling On A Secret, which is being published under my real nameSara Walter Ellwood. It will come out in Jan from Lyrical Press.
I also have the next book in The Hunter's Daggers Series coming out early next year. I don't have a release date yet for A Hunter's Blade.
Finally, in May my second contemporary Western Heartstrings will be released by Lyrical Press.
6. What are you working on now?
Right now I'm working on getting Gambling On A Heart (book 2 of my Western series) submitted. I'm also writing book three of this series (Gambling On A Wish) and book 3 of The Hunter's Daggers: A Hunter's Wings.
7. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Never give up. If a door closes, find a window. If it's boarded up, kick out a wall. If it opens over a cliff, find a parachute.
10. What's your website URL? Do you have a blog? Where else can we find you on the web?
To Sign up for my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mVxXf
The Wild Rose Press: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=980
Some Books I've Read Lately:
A MONSTER CALLS, by Patrick Ness. Ness developed this novel from a premise left uncompleted by late YA author Siobhan Dowd. I'd never read either of these authors before and found this book (set in Britain) to be a unique, powerful, and emotionally wrenching story. Thirteen-year-old Conor's mother is dying of cancer. His father has moved to America with a second wife and a new baby, and Conor has to stay with his maternal grandmother, a stern woman with whom he doesn't communicate well. He suffers a recurring nightmare whose contents we don't learn until the climax. One night a monster in the form of a huge yew tree in a cemetery comes to life and calls for Conor. He's unafraid because this nightmare isn't THE nightmare, which overshadows all other terrors. The monster declares that it will tell three tales, after which it will require Conor to tell a story in returnthe story of his nightmare, his own truth. Conor is almost sure the monster is a dream, yet he begins to anticipate its return every night at 12:07. Shunned by his fellow students at school, victimized by bullies, emotionally estranged from his grandmother, he becomes more and more isolated and "invisible." Meanwhile, things happen that may prove the monster exists in the real world, though of course adults blame Conor for the incidents. The stories it tells warp conventional expectations of how fairy tales are supposed to develop and end. The "wrong" people get punished and rewarded. It insists that Conor called it, not the reverse. Thanks to the monster, Conor faces his nightmare, acknowledges the truth within himself, and comes to terms with his mother's condition. The book has dark, foreboding illustrations that perfectly complement the story.
THE DAWN OF AURORA TEAGARDEN, by Charlaine Harris. Before Sookie Stackhouse, Harris created these mysteries, also set in a quirky little Southern town but starring a heroine very different from Sookie. This volume is an omnibus of REAL MURDERS, A BONE TO PICK, and THREE BEDROOMS, ONE CORPSE. Aurora (nicknamed Roe) starts out as a stereotypical bookish, quiet-living librarian, except for one thing. She belongs to a group called "Real Murders," which meets to discuss true-life homicide cases. Otherwise, unlike Sookie, Roe comes across as a very ordinary young, single woman. The first novel begins with a meeting where one of their members turns up murdered. In A BONE TO PICK, Roe inherits a house and half a million dollars from an elderly member of the (now disbanded) club. In the house she finds a human skull and realizes her late friend has set her up to deal with this problem. Helping out with her mother's real estate business in THREE BEDROOMS, ONE CORPSE, Roe finds a dead body in a vacant house for sale. A BONE TO PICK is my favorite because I'm delighted with the setup of a mysterious legacy and a house with a secret. Solid mysteries (although to some extent Roe falls onto clues rather than actively solving the puzzles) and engaging characters make these books fun to read for any lover of cozy detective stories. I must confess, though, that I didn't care much for the man Roe falls in love with in the third installment, and I never quite believed in their whirlwind passion. Also, I couldn't shake a niggling doubt of Roe's good sense in declaring herself "rich" on $500,000 (presumably before taxes, at that). Okay, after the initial euphoria she does consult a financial planner and consider drawing the interest rather than living on the capital. Good decision, because depending on her lifestyle and the local cost of living, if she used up the capital she'd be broke again in 10 to 15 years. However, if she relied on the interest from that sum as her sole source of income, she'd have to live VERY frugally indeed, even in 1992 (when A BONE TO PICK was first published).
REDSHIRTS, by John Scalzi. Even if you haven't read the reviews of this novel, you can probably guess it's a satire on STAR TREK. Ensign Andy Dahl reports to the United Union starship INTREPID, flagship of the fleet, and quickly discovers something is odd about this ship. His fellow officers in the science lab vanish whenever their superior officer drops in. Dahl is obliquely cautioned to stay off the bridge and out of the Captain's sight as much as possible. Away team members get killed at a rate far out of sync with comparable fatalities on other ships executing similar missions. If one crewman dies on an excursion headed by one of the senior officers, however, the other team members are safeprobably (a phenomenon dubbed the Sacrifice Effect). The science lab contains an incomprehensible object called the Box, which produces solutions for insoluble problems in exactly enough time to beat the Captain's deadlines. Dahl and his friends discover a reclusive crewman, Jenkins, who claims to know what's really going on. Their lives are being controlled by the Narrative, a force generated by a television series that aired over four centuries in the past. And, according to Jenkins, it's not even a very GOOD show. The disposable young heroes have to travel through a black hole to the past (or the past of some parallel timeline, maybe) to set things right. I found the story incisively funny. Whether it would have its full impact on someone who'd never watched STAR TREK, I'm not sure. Probably any SF fan would have enough awareness of the classic series to get the humor. The suspense gets the reader invested in the characters' fates even though they aren't developed in any great depth. I'm not sure how I feel about the three "Codas," when the text suddenly goes all metafictional and delves, with various narrative techniques and experimental viewpoint devices, into the experiences of the people in our time whose lives have been changed by their encounters with the INTREPID's junior officers.
Excerpt from "Dragon's Tribute":
Rowena tried to find comfort in her grandmother's amulet hanging from a thong around her neck, hidden under the traditional white shift. Grandmother had slipped the charm over Rowena's head at the last moment. According to Grandmother, the bronze disk had enabled her to escape alive from a dragon's lair. Her native village had exiled her for fear that the dragon's rejection would bring a curse upon the community. After months of wandering she had found her way here and given birth to Rowena's mother.
A breeze sprang up, drying the clammy sweat on Rowena's bare limbs. A chill prickled on her skin, despite the season. Every Midsummer Eve the dragon swooped down at sunset to collect his annual tribute. As tradition demanded, the Baron and the priests had cast lots to determine which town would supply the maiden. The lot had fallen upon Rowena's village, and within the village, her name had been chosen. Of course the lot never fell upon the Baron's household, a village elder's daughter, or a priest's sister. This year, with sickness rampant among the local children, the choice had not been left to chance. Rowena knew she had been sacrificed because of her grandmother's dubious past, suspected of having unleashed a curse upon the community.
Rowena squirmed to work her way around the tree until she faced the hillside instead of the path to the village. The rope scraped her wrists. She saw no bones scattered nearby. Maybe the monster carried his victims to his lair instead of devouring them on the spot. She prayed that if the amulet didn't protect her, the end would come quickly. Would his jaws bite her head off, or would he first incinerate her in a roar of flame? On countless winter nights she had listened avidly to the ballads and tales Grandmother had picked up while wandering the countryside and wished she could live those adventures. Now she would have emitted a bitter laugh at her silly notions of adventure, if her throat hadn't been clogged with fear.
A winged shape glided toward her from the peaks in the distance. Her chest tightened, and her heart hammered against her ribs.
The creature loomed before her like a giant bat as it sank to the ground. Her unbound hair blew in the wind it stirred up. It settled in front of her and folded the wings on its back.
Her stomach cramped with terror, although the dragon looked smaller than she'd expected. She had imagined him as large as a church or perhaps even so huge his wings would blot out the sun. Still, at twice the size of the Baron's warhorse, the monster was fearsome enough. Instead of thick-bodied like a horse, though, he looked sinuously elongated, with a serpentine tail.
His crested head, with jaws the length of her forearm, lowered toward her. Holding her breath, she waited for the dagger-size teeth to rend her throat. Her legs trembled. The glittering eyes fixed upon her. She squeezed her own eyes shut. His hot breath blasted her in the face. It smelled like a bonfire of pine branches with a trace of incense.
Something like a scorching whip lashed her neck. She choked back a scream. Now the fangs would pierce her flesh.
But they didn't. Hissing, the dragon withdrew his tongue, the "whip" she'd felt. When she dared to look, he was staring at her with his oval, slanted eyesthe color of emeralds. Not that she had ever seen an emerald up close, but she could think of no other word for that green glow.
He stretched one of his front feet toward her. His claws touched the skin just above the neckline of her shift. She couldn't suppress a whimper. The dragon withdrew his talons and used them to snap the ropes that bound her to the tree trunk. Her legs crumpled. The dragon's leg wrapped around her like a cat's paw scooping up a mouse.
With a cry, Rowena shoved against the scaly chest. It felt smoother than she'd imagined and as warm as the outside of an oven. A rainbow of greens, blues, and violets rippled over the creature's hide, as if coated with powdered gems. No wonder legends claimed kings would pay a fortune for a dragon's skin.
There was no knight here to slay this beast, though, and no matter how beautiful, he would still devour her. Tears trickled down Rowena's cheeks.
The next moment, panic dried them. The dragon leaped into the air and spread his wings. Her stomach lurched. She swallowed bile. A scream ripped from her throat. The dragon spun her around to face away from him and clutched her against his chest with both forefeet. Wind whipped her hair and stung her eyes. Her legs dangling, she gripped the creature's front limbs and babbled a frantic prayer. Better to get her throat slashed by his fangs than fall to the rocky ground and perhaps writhe in agony for hours with a broken spine.
With her back to the dragon's body, she could see the rocky hills ahead. In the dying light she saw they were heading for a dark gash in a cliff above a ravine. After several minutes of flight, the dragon glided to a stop on a ledge barely wide enough to hold him. No wonder the Baron's men at arms had never stormed the dragon's lair. Only something with wings could reach this entrance.
The dragon put her down and nudged her inside. She stumbled, fell to her knees, and crouched there, shaking. The nausea subsided to mild queasiness. She looked up at the dragon, who towered on his rear legs in the "doorway." His wings, though shaped like a bat's, weren't black or brown, but iridescent with shades of emerald and turquoise.
She almost fainted when he spoke to her: "Get up, girl." She had to think a second to understand the guttural phrase. She couldn't tell how he formed the words, with his mouth open but not moving. His voice rumbled and made the nerves quiver in the pit of her stomach.
When she didn't move, he hooked his claws around her elbow and dragged her upright. The floor of the cave felt like polished marble under her bare feet, instead of the rough stone she expected. A pearly glow emanated from the walls, weaker than the sun, but she could see much clearer than in moonlight.
"Walk," the dragon growled. His tongue snaked out to lash her arm. Shivering, she obeyed. He slithered into the cavern after her.
-end of excerpt-
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"Beast" wishes until next time
Margaret L. Carter