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Margaret L. Carter's News from the Crypt No. 91 (April 2013)

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  • MargaretC
    Welcome to the April 2013 issue of my newsletter, “News from the Crypt,” and please visit Carter s Crypt (www.margaretlcarter.com), devoted to my horror,
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2013
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      Welcome to the April 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 classified by genre:

      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:

      Ellora’s Cave will release a “Naughty Nooner” short story by me, “Weird Wedding Guest,” on April 12. This lighthearted piece about a bridesmaid meeting the groom’s very strange non-identical twin brother is a sequel to my humorous Lovecraftian erotic romance “Tentacles of Love.” There’s an excerpt below.


      Again, here’s the publisher’s page for my new story collection, DAME ONYX TREASURES: LOVE AMONG THE MONSTERS. Vampires, ghosts, things with tentacles, a talking cat, and more:


      This month’s interview is with erotic romance author Cynthia Sax.


      Interview with Cynthia Sax:

      1. What inspired you to begin writing?
      I’ve always written. I wrote in a diary as a child every single day. I wrote for a weekly and a daily newspaper as a teenager (I had my own column and was offered a full-time job). I then moved to blogging. Writing romance novels was always a goal and it was a natural step in my writing ‘career.’
      2. What genres do you write in?
      I write paranormal erotic romance and science fiction erotic romance. I’m a former farm girl so talking bluntly about sex is natural for me. We’d talk about animals mating at the breakfast table. We’d also discuss breeding certain features into the animals we raised. This insight into how species evolve helps me tremendously when I’m writing about shifters and aliens.
      3. Do you outline, "wing it," or something in between?

      I’m a pantser. I don’t know how a story will end until I write it. Sometimes my characters die. Sometimes they don’t have a happy ever after. I don’t publish those stories.
      The best way to explain this to non-writers is that my writing process is like dreaming. Dreams come from our own brains. We SHOULD have control over them but we don’t, do we? Writing is the same way for me.
      4. Are your vampires fairly traditional? If not, what are they like? How about your werewolves and demons?
      My vampires, wolf shifters and demons are fairly traditional. Their personalities are unique, of course, but their features are traditional. As my paranormal stories are short stories, I prefer to concentrate on their personalities and the romance than on special features.
      5. What is your favorite paranormal creature?
      I LOVE dragon shifters! They’re big and bad and positioned at the top of the food chain. Dragons have such a rich story history and they’re an interesting combination of the primitive and the magical. I find it interesting that dragons appear in almost every culture, almost every time period.
      Plus dragons fly and they breathe fire! No other paranormal creature can beat that! 
      6. How do you balance writing for more than one publisher?
      Changeling Press publishes my paranormal erotic romance short stories and Ellora’s Cave publishes my science fiction erotic romance novellas. I usually write one short story and one novella a month so my writing is perfectly balanced between the two publishers! I love writing for both of these publishers.

      7. What is your latest or next-forthcoming book (or both)?
      Warlord Unarmed is my most recent release from Ellora’s Cave. This is the follow-up story to Warlord’s Bounty and tells the story of the youngest brother, Murad. I jokingly refer to Gale, the curvaceous heroine, as a space hoarder. (grins) She collects things, filling every nook in her ship with stuff. I love these two. They are magic together.
      Tiger Byte is my most recent release from Changeling Press. ( http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=2010 )
      Tiger Byte is the second story in my Big Cat Mates series (the first being Lion In Wait). Nikhil is a tiger shifter. Born into poverty in India, he has found success in the USA and is now a technology billionaire. Violet, also a curvaceous heroine, is a purple-haired hacker. Nikhil hunts her down, only to find out his nemesis is also his mate.
      Hmmm… what a coincidence that both of these stories are second stories AND feature curvaceous heroines. I wrote them months apart so it IS a coincidence!

      8. What are you working on now?

      I’m writing the fourth and final story in the Warlord’s Bounty series for Ellora’s Cave. The third story (which doesn’t yet have a title) has already been submitted. I love this story and I’m writing it really, really slowly because I’m dreading saying goodbye to the series. It is always tough saying goodbye to beloved characters! 
      9. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
      Writers often give the great advice to read, read, read. The reason we give this advice is because we should know the reader expectations in our genres. As a paranormal reader, if I read a vampire story and there’s no blood drinking scene, I’m disappointed.
      We can deviate from these expectations but we should know why we’re deviating, ideally we should explain this why, and we should know some readers won’t be happy about these deviations.
      For example:
      The expectation in science fiction erotic romance is that alien languages are made up languages, the words being unique to the writer’s world. I don’t do this. I purposefully use existing languages (in the Warlord’s Bounty world, the aliens speak Mongolian). Why? Because I believe learning an existing language is more useful for my readers and because of my farm girl roots. Two ‘species’ have to be extremely close genetically to mate and produce fertile offspring. It makes sense to me that they might be linguistically close also. Yes. (grins) I might, just might, adhere to the common ancestor theory.
      I made a conscious decision to deviate from expectations and when readers ask (and they DO ask â€" I LOVE my reader mail), I have an explanation for this deviation.
      10. What's your website URL? Do you have a blog? Where else can we find you on the web?
      Website: http://cynthiasax.com/
      Blog:  http://tasteofcyn.com/
      Twitter: @CynthiaSax


      Some Books I've Read Lately:

      THE MAD SCIENTIST’S GUIDE TO WORLD DOMINATION, edited by John Joseph Adams. I bought this new anthology mainly because it includes novella by Diana Gabaldon, a spinoff from her Outlander series. Her “The Space Between” focuses on the mysterious alchemist Count Saint-Germain (whose rumored immortality Gabaldon attributes to time travel) and one of Jamie Fraser’s stepdaughters, arriving in Paris to enter a convent. Another of my favorite authors, Naomi Novik, has a story in this book, but it has no connection to her dragon series. Her “Rocks Fall” portrays a dialogue between a superhero and his nemesis trapped in a cave-in. A couple of the stories are reprints; one of them, “The Mad Scientist’s Daughter” by Theodora Goss (I’m almost sure the original title as I read it in STRANGE HORIZONS was “...Daughters”), is a superbly unsettling account of a group of nineteenth-century women setting up a household togetherâ€"Justine Frankenstein, Catherine Moreau, Beatrice Rappaccini, Mary Jekyll, Diana Hyde, and Helen Raymond (from Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan”). At the end of the story they welcome a new member, Lucinda Van Helsing. Another of my favorite pieces is “Professor Incognito Apologizes: An Itemized List,” by Austin Grossman, a breakup note from a mad scientist to his girlfriend, with a twist ending. The story that follows, “Father of the Groom,” by Harry Turtledove, is just as funny. “Letter to the Editor,” by David D. Levine, explains how the nemesis of Ultimate Man (clearly a Superman analogue) is actually saving the world by keeping the superhero’s power in check. These are only a sample, and I found very few disappointments in the entire anthology.

      THE LION’S WORLD, by Rowan Williams. This commentary on C. S. Lewis’s Narnia series comes from the recently retired Archbishop of Canterbury. Williams’s central theme is the way the Narnian stories enable the reader to encounter the Christian story as if for the first time, free of the preconceptions set in our minds by conventional images of “religion.” So Williams naturally focuses much of his commentary on the figure of Aslan. Williams projects unmistakable admiration for Lewis but doesn’t ignore the occasional weaknesses in the Narnia books. He devotes a chapter to the major criticisms of the series made by other commenters, notably the presentation of the Calormenes and the “problem of Susan.” As for Philip Pullman, however, Williams mentions that author’s hostility to Lewis but does not attempt to refute itâ€"reasonably enough, for the dissonance between Lewis and Pullman exists at a fundamental world-view level. Even for readers who are lifelong fans of Lewis and Narnia, Williams has fresh insights to offer. His description of Lewis’s way of writing for children as “subversive” especially impressed me. This book contains only 144 pages, exclusive of endnotes, in rather large print. It bears careful reading, and I wish it had been longer.

      FROST BURNED, by Patricia Briggs. The latest Mercy Thompson novel begins with Mercy, the coyote shapeshifter and garage mechanic heroine of the series, and her stepdaughter, Alpha werewolf Adam’s teenage daughter Jesse, stuck in traffic during a Black Friday shopping excursion. Their interaction provides an engaging and amusing few pages until things turn serious after a minor car accident. Mercy discovers she can’t get an answer on her phone from Adam or any other member of the pack. She soon learns that they have all been kidnapped. Through her bond with Adam, she manages to communicate with him and share his perceptions, thereby learning that the kidnappers are rogue members of a government agency determined to blackmail Adam into assassinating a U.S. Senator. Murders ensue, as do threats to other people Mercy cares about. Her desperation and her bond with her mate lead her to discover new powers within herself. She has to seek help from a variety of potential allies, including an agent of the very organization involved in the crime. Vampires and fae get involved. The story and the characters generate intense emotion and never-slackening suspense, without resorting to frenetically nonstop “action” of the type that turns me off (although there are enough scenes of that type to please action lovers, too). As always, Briggs makes us care about her characters and immerses us in a version of our world where vampires, werewolves, fae, and witches plausibly navigate their alliances and enmities.


      Excerpt from “Weird Wedding Guest”:

      The abstract sculpture still occupied a corner of the reception hall next to the bar, though the caterers had hauled away the champagne fountain it had supported. Roxanne ducked behind it, hoping Chad wouldn’t follow her inside.

      She crouched on the floor, risking smudges on the hem of her mint-green bridesmaid gown. Keeping it clean hardly mattered now that the ceremony and reception had ended and the newlyweds had driven away. If Roxanne hadn’t accidentally left her purse in here, she would have escaped already and Chad wouldn’t have cornered her in the moonlit parking lot.

      She pushed her wire-rimmed glasses up on her nose and peered at the decorative platform she was hiding behind. It looked like a six-foot-high mound of iridescent bubbles. Rainbow colors shimmered over its surface and violet sparks like miniature lightning bolts coruscated through it. Fascinated, she ran a hand over it. Its cool, smooth surface rippled under her palm.

      She jerked her hand away. She must have imagined that movement. The thing felt alive. Impossible.

      Like this display, the whole celebration had struck her as beautiful but strange. She’d never even heard of the Temple of Dagon before her friend Lauren had drafted her as a bridesmaid. In the ceremony the priest of Dagon, wearing a robe adorned with a three-lobed eye, and the minister from Lauren’s parents’ church who’d co-officiated with him had made an odd-looking pair. Too bad her husband Blake’s twin brother couldn’t make it to the wedding. Wilbur was housebound because of some condition neither he nor Blake had explained. Roxanne had exchanged e-mails for months with Wilbur, who seemed like a fun guy as well as intelligent. Blake had “introduced” them online, although until recently she hadn’t known their exact relationship. Wilbur would have made a more pleasant companion than Chad, she was sure of that.

      Speaking of the pest, he marched into the room at that moment, calling her name. Just because they’d been paired in the ceremony and she’d resigned herself to the ritual of one dance together, he seemed to think she owed him the rest of the evening. She’d spent it evading his attention. Not that he was bad-looking, with the wavy, chestnut hair, chocolate-brown eyes and broad shoulders, but hunkiness wasn’t everything. She sighed and scrunched lower behind the sculpture.

      “Roxanne?” Instead of giving up when he didn’t get an answer, he circled the room until he stood at the proper angle to catch sight of her. “There you are. I thought I saw you run in here.”

      “Forgot my purse.” She straightened up with it clutched in one hand.

      “Come on, how about joining me for a drink before we head home?”

      “No thanks, I’m kind of tired.” As she’d informed him at least twice already.

      He captured her free hand. When she snatched it away, his smile froze. “What’s with you? I thought some sparks flew when we danced.”

      “Sorry, not happening.” She turned away from him.

      He clutched her arm to spin her around. Startled, she let him. “Bet I can change your mind.” Cupping the back of her head, he lowered his lips to hers.

      The second she tasted the beer on his breath, she snapped out of her shock and recoiled from the kiss. “Let go of me.”

      His grip tightened. “Quit teasing.”

      “Can’t you tell the difference between teasing and ‘no’?” She struggled but couldn’t tug her arm free.

      Something long and sinuous lashed out, wrapped around Chad’s wrist and squeezed. He yelped and his fingers went slack.

      *What is that?* Roxanne gaped at the thing that encircled Chad’s arm. A whip? No, it looked more like a tentacle.

      Glancing over her shoulder, she realized the appendage was attached to the sculpture. Somebody had to be operating it by remote control but who and why?

      A voice boomed, “Unhand the lady.” It reverberated in the pit of her stomach like organ music.

      So the display was wired for sound too? What was the point of that? Chad obviously didn’t pause to think about such questions. He inched away, his mouth hanging open. A purple bolt of electricity arced from the tentacle to his skin. He yelped and jerked his arm loose.

      “Go!” the voice ordered. He turned and ran out.

      Roxanne straightened her glasses and scanned the sculpture. Its surface undulated and lights flickered under the gleaming surface. “Uhâ€"thanks. Where are you hiding anyway?”

      No longer thunderous but a mellow bass, the voice said, “I am not hiding. I am right here. Are you uninjured?” Three stalks extruded from the display. Stalks with multilobed eyes.

      She scrambled backwards and bumped into the corner of the bar. One foot slid from under her. Two tentacles stretched out, one encircling her waist and the other winding around her right forearm. Her vision grayed and she stifled a screechâ€"stifled it because whatever this thing was, she still didn’t want Chad hearing her and rushing to the rescue.

      The cool, silken clasp of the tentacles felt like painless static electricity. It sent sparks racing through her whole body from the nape of her neck to the suddenly sensitive soles of her feet....

      -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:
      To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to:

      Moonlight Fantasy, devoted to erotic romance:

      My Publishers:

      Amber Quill Press: www.amberquill.com
      Ellora's Cave: www.ellorascave.com
      Harlequin/Silhouette: www.eharlequin.com
      Hard Shell Word Factory: www.hardshell.com
      Whiskey Creek: www.whiskeycreekpress.com

      You can contact me at: MLCVamp@...

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