Margaret L. Carter's News from the Crypt No. 90 (March 2013)
- Welcome to the March 2013 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 my Jewels of the Quill book page, where you can find information and buy links for all my available works in a user-friendly layout;
The long-time distributor of THE VAMPIRE'S CRYPT has closed its website. If you would like to read any issue of this fanzine, which contains fiction, interviews, and a detailed book review column, e-mail me to request the desired issue, and I'll send you a free PDF of it. Find information about the contents of each issue on this page of my website:
This is my Facebook author page. Please visit!
Here's my page in Barnes and Noble's Nook store. These items include some of the short stories that used to be on Fictionwise:
Go here and scroll down to "Available Short Fiction" for a list of those stories with their Amazon links:
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:
RT BOOK reviews gave my two-novella collection, MAIDEN FLIGHTS, a 4-star review!
This trade paperback contains "Virgin Blood" (a vampire twist on the tale of Rapunzel) and "Dragon's Tribute," in which a maiden gets sacrificed to a shapeshifting dragon. The RT reviewer says: "The idea behind the first story featuring Rapunzel is unique. . . . [On "Dragon's Tribute"] Rowena's first-ever erotic encounter is immensely sensual, and the story's plot is utterly enchanting."
Whiskey Creek Press has just released my story collection DAME ONYX TREASURES: LOVE AMONG THE MONSTERS. In addition to three stories that appeared in Jewels of the Quill holiday anthologies, this collection includes several other fantasy short stories, most of them not otherwise availableand a brand new fantasy romance novella, "Fantasia Quest." It's set mainly inside a computer role-playing game, and I had lots of fun with it. The opening paragraphs are excerpted below. The trade paperback edition is coming soon. Here's the e-book:
I have three other story collections already available: HEARTS DESIRES AND DARK EMBRACES, a variety of pieces spanning many years, featuring vampires and other nonhuman characters:
ARDENT BLOOD, comprising all three of my erotic paranormal romance novellas from Amber Heat: "Allure of the Beast" (werewolf), "Aquatic Ardor" (undine), and "Blood Hostage" (vampire):
NIGHT FLAMES, containing three erotic paranormal romance novellas from Ellora's Cave: "Night Flight" (vampire), "New Flame" (fire creature), and "Sweeter Than Wine" (ghost):
Here's an interview with sensual romance author B. J. McCall.
Interview with B. J. McCall:
1. What inspired you to begin writing?
I'm an avid reader and for years I'd wanted to write, but I didn't take that important first step of putting my ideas into words until I received a call from a friend. We'd lost touch for a few years and her call was an inspiration. She'd written a romance novel and was being published.
I started writing that day and haven't looked back.
2. What genres do you write in?
My first published works were contemporary stories. I wanted to try my hand at sci-fi and wrote Icy Hot. The book was rejected so I submitted the work to a new Ebook publisher, Ellora's Cave. That was ten years ago
I started writing paranormal and fell in love with werewolves, vampires, angels and dragons. I love the creative process of futuristic and paranormal tales.
3.Do you outline, "wing it," or something in between?
Sometimes I wing it. I have the opening scene in my head and take off from there, letting the story unfold. Usually, I write a synopsis. I know the beginning and the end, but along the way things do change.
4.How do you handle writing for more than one publisher?
My editors are great. I've been with two of them for years so working out a schedule is easy. I don't make commitments or sign contracts I cannot fulfill.
I'm published with Changeling Press, eRedSage, Cobblestone Press and Ellora's Cave.
5.Please tell us about your dragons. How do they resemble or differ from the typical dragons of folklore and fiction?
My approach is to explore the problems dragon shifters would face if they lived in our world. They'd have to coexist with humans, but deal with their unique abilities and social structure. My dragons live in clans with social rules that guide their lives. My heroes and heroines believe in the magic of the true mate, the one lover that's perfect for them. That mate may be dragon or human.
I love writing dragon tales. Maybe it all that smoke and fire that makes it so much fun.
6. What is your favorite paranormal creature?
Shape shifters are my favorite creatures. Werewolves and dragons are challenging characters because they change form and the writer must make both the human and paranormal sides believable. It's very difficult to choose between fur and fire.
7. What is your latest or next-forthcoming book (or both)?
My next release is Night Sins, an urban vampire tale published by Changeling Press. The book is related to Eternity Factor, published in October 2012 . Look for Night Sins in early April.
8. What are you working on now?
I'm working with my Ellora's Cave editor to expand my demon tale, Kela's Guardian. The book was contracted for Something Wicked This Way Comes Vol. 4, but the publisher recently decided to cancel the anthology. The book will be released as a single title later in the year.
9. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Never give up. Write the story you love and find the right publisher for your work. There are many publishers looking for good stories, especially in e-books.
10.What's your website URL? Do you have a blog? Where else can we find you on the web?
My website is www.bjmccall.comwww.bjmccall.com . I love to hear from readers.
I don't have a blog. Writing time is so precious I do guest posts on author blogs and the Changeling Press blog. I do have a yahoo group, RedHotRomance.
Some Books I've Read Lately:
UCHENNA'S APPLES, by Diane Duane. This novel by the author of the Young Wizard's series has no supernatural content except for a faint hint of such a possibility at the end. It's recommended for fans of her engaging, realistic teenage characters anyway. Set in Ireland, where Duane lives, this YA story features Uchenna, the daughter of a Nigerian mother (who's a doctor) and an Irish father. She and her best friend, Emer, live in a small planned-community town near Dublin. A group of horses with no known owner appears in a field near Emer's house. The two girls check out the situation and decide to feed the horses with apples from a tree on Uchenna's family's property. Uchenna feels especially concerned about the horses because one of them is pregnant. They keep disappearing from one location and turning up in another, so that the girls have to chase neighborhood rumors to find the animals each day. Most people suspect the horses belong to Travelers (Gypsies), who have the same bad reputation in Ireland as in most places they've lived over the centuries. Uchenna and Emer get acquainted with Jimmy, a Traveler boy whose family is trying to make it in the settled life for the sake of his education. Contrary to the stereotypes he has to live with, he doesn't know anything about horses and prefers the conventional suburban lifestyle over his people's traditions. The two girls gradually become friends with him while trying to keep the horses fed and not get caught by their parents. Just when Uchenna decides she has to report the animals' plight to adults who can do something about it, the horses vanish again, and the situation reaches a crisis. The portrayal of life in modern Ireland and the likable, believable young characters make this novel an enjoyable read for any fan of Duane's work. UCHENNA'S APPLES is available only in the E-pub format, which must be read with the free Adobe Digital Editions program. To buy this book, you have to go to Duane's site, here: http://ebooksdirect.dianeduane.com/products/uchennas-apples
WILD SEX: WAY BEYOND THE BIRDS AND THE BEES, a 1991 book by naturalist Susan Windybank. Useful for writers who want to create alien beings with strange love lives and curious readers in search of intriguing oddities in the natural world. Almost everything you might want to know about animal reproductive biology is at least touched upon in this book. The author traces the evolution of sex all the way from protozoans up to mammals. Some chapters have provocative titles such as "Bondage," "Fatal Love," "Virgin Birth," "Polyandry," "Incest," and "Transvestism" (by which she more accurately refers to transsexualism, the conversion of an animal from one sex to the other, as normally occurs in some species of fish), among many others. Boxes inserted between blocks of text offer odd information such as the facts that the female canary must hear the male's song in order for her ovaries to ripen, armadillos always give birth to identical quadruplets, and a male garter snake plugs up the female's vagina after copulation to prevent other suitors from mating with her. Other weird reproductive factoids include: Cockroaches have multiple hook-shaped penises; the female bedbug has no vagina, so the male has to drill into her abdomen to insert sperm; the eggs of the mouthbrooder fish are fertilized by her catching the newly laid eggs in her mouth, then performing "oral sex" on the male fish to receive his sperm; a pair of Indian pythons has been observed copulating for 180 days; offspring of the Chalcid Wasp can breed even in the egg phase of development. The author's habit of trying to be humorous with arch, sometimes risque side comments can get mildly annoying after a while, but this book is still both entertaining and informative.
A MAN, A WOMAN, A WORD OF LOVE, by Joseph S. Pagano and Amy E. Richter. I bought this book because the authors, a husband-wife clergy team, serve at an Episcopal church not far from my home. This sermon collection is introduced by a foreword from the Episcopal Bishop of Maryland; you couldn't ask for a better endorsement than that! The contents alternate between Pagano and Richter, usually giving the reader a dual perspective on each Scripture reading. The collection proceeds through the church year from Advent to the Sundays after Pentecost, and the "love" theme of course refers to God's love and our love for each other in God. Both of these authors have a gift for using contemporary references and personal anecdotes as a gateway into theological issues, and they're both lively writers. This handsome trade paperback gives good value for the price, containing twenty-three essays. If you happen to enjoy reading printed sermons, don't miss this book.
Excerpt from "Fantasia Quest":
Vibrating from the jolt of the power surge, Russ watched the medieval-style town dissolve into mist, then coalesce around him. The backdrop of the game setting reappeared in as vivid detail as before. The computer-generated villagers, though, stood frozen in their places. In the persona of his elf bladewarden character, Russ floated like a wraith across the village green to the vegetable stall, where the grocer and a customer posed like eerily realistic mannequins. Neither one responded to Russ's greeting. Neither did the butcher in the door of his shop or the genial farmer staggering out of the tavern.
The electrical blip alone shouldn't have caused this problem. Had Zack carried out his threat before leaving the company? The team had combed through all the code written by the fired programmer. Could they have missed something subtle?
*Unless it's the curse. He vowed he'd put a curse on me.* Russ shook himself to cast off the ludicrous notion. No way―what a load of bull. Magic had its place in the game world but not behind the scenes among the ones and zeroes.
He clamped down on the alarm that seized him. No need to panic. When his partner joined him in the game scenario, they could work through this glitch.
Could he communicate with her? Taking deep breaths of the simulated country air to tame his runaway heartbeat, he considered his options. Instant messaging should still work for him. The test could proceed as scheduled.
Get a grip, he ordered himself. I can fix this. No problem.
* * * *
The virtual reality suit didn't look or feel as cumbersome as its description had made it sound. Carrie fingered the satiny fabric. "Can you believe this, Bilbo?" she said to the black-and-tan Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on the floor next to her desk chair. "This outfit is supposed to put me literally inside the game. Welcome to the future."
The dog, glad to agree with anything she said, panted and tapped his tail on the rug. Absently bending to stroke his head, she picked up the goggles with her other hand. Between those and the headphones, gloves, tight-fitting cowl, and stretchy catsuit, almost every inch of her would be covered and directly or indirectly wired. The potential discomfort would be worth it to join in the beta test for Fantasia Quest Six, hyped as the latest quantum leap in computer roleplaying games. She'd beta-tested other products for the company, Golden Goblin Games, but nothing like this. Not only would she enjoy the thrill of an advance peek at the cutting-edge VR system, she got paid to participate. Not much, true, but enough to make her feel appreciated.
Carrie tried on one of the gloves. Her fingers flexed as if the fabric were just another layer of skin. "Rolf promised it would be comfortable," she told the dog. "Maybe he was right." She opened and glanced over the most recent e-mail from "Rshadowbane" to check the schedule again. She didn't know the real name of "Rolf Shadowbane," her partner for the test, only his status as a member of the design team at Golden Goblin Games. After months of exchanging e-mails on subjects that ranged far beyond the boundaries of gaming, though, she thought of him almost as a friend. A friend who, if the play session went smoothly, might put in a favorable word for her application to work at Golden Goblin's headquarters in Baltimore. As usual, she ignored his closing remark, "After the beta test, maybe we could get together in real life," the way she had every such invitation before. Real life was overrated, in her opinion, riddled with stereotyped characters and farfetched plot twists. She'd thought so ever since the catastrophic outcome of the staff party Christmas Eve before last. She and Rolf had a perfectly good virtual relationship. They liked the same books and music, voted for the same candidates, kept similar working hours. Online, he seemed the perfect guy for her. Why risk shattering the illusion? One blow to the heart per decade was plenty.
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:
To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to:
Moonlight Fantasy, devoted to erotic romance:
Amber Quill Press: www.amberquill.com
Ellora's Cave: www.ellorascave.com
Hard Shell Word Factory: www.hardshell.com
Whiskey Creek: www.whiskeycreekpress.com
You can contact me at: MLCVamp@...
"Beast" wishes until next time
Margaret L. Carter