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Margaret L. Carter's News from the Crypt No. 16 (January 2007)

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  • margvamp
    Welcome to my newsletter, News from the Crypt, and please visit Carter s Crypt (www.margaretlcarter.com), devoted to my horror, fantasy, and paranormal
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 2, 2007
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      Welcome to 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/

      Happy New Year, all! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season,
      whatever traditional-winter-solstice-observance you celebrate. My
      main Christmas present was the DVD of FOREVER KNIGHT, Season 3. Visit
      the Photos section of this group for a picture of our 11-month-old
      granddaughter Alya on Santa's lap. Unlike many little kids in that
      situation, she isn't crying. There's also a photo of my husband
      holding her cousin Aiden at Christmas Eve dinner. We've had good luck
      with mild weather (in the 50s instead of freezing) most days
      throughout the holiday season. Of course, winter is still young.

      This month I interview Barbara Karmazin, award-winning author of
      erotic science fiction romance novels, many featuring her
      extraterrestrial Sidhe, who migrated to Earth ten thousand years ago:

      1. What inspired you to begin writing?

      The cancellation of the Beauty and the Beast TV show is what inspired
      me to begin writing. I was so upset that I started writing a letter
      to TV Guide detailing all the events I wanted to see happen next in
      the series. After the first ten pages of that letter, I put it aside
      and decided to write my own Beauty and the Beast novel entitled The
      Chronicles of Vincent and Diana. It took me four years to write that
      novel using an electric typewriter. Four years of trial and error,
      where I taught myself how to put a story together from beginning to
      end.

      By writing and finishing that first book, I proved to myself that I
      had the stubbornness and commitment to write and instead of writing
      about another author's characters, I then moved on to write my own
      stories with my own characters.

      Since then, I've published six full-length novels, two novellas and
      six short stories, all in the Science Fiction Romance and Erotic
      Science Fiction genres.

      Of my published books, The Huntress won 2005 Dream Realm Award, 2004
      CAPA Nominee Status and Top Ten Finalist in 2004 Preditors & Editors
      Poll Vote. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, won the 2004 Dream Realm Award
      for Best SF Erotica. 2005 CAPA Nominee Status and Top Ten Finalist in
      the 2005 Preditors and Editors Poll. Down Came a Blackbird was Fab
      Five Finalist in 2000 and Covenants also achieved 2004 CAPA Nominee
      Status.

      I have two novellas, Christmas Noir, http://www.loose-
      id.net/detail.aspx?ID=355
      which debuted 12/15/06 at Loose Id and Hot Zone that will debut
      01/2007 at Loose Id.
      Last, but not least, book number seven, Night Moves, will debut
      03/2007 at Loose Id.


      2. What genres do you write in?

      Science Fiction has always been my first love, followed by Mystery
      and Suspense. I write Science Fiction Romance,
      Erotic Science Fiction, Erotic Mystery Science Fiction and Dark Urban
      Fantasy Erotic Suspense.

      3. What is your latest or next-forthcoming book?

      My newest novel is a Dark Urban Fantasy Erotic Suspense novel called
      Night Moves. This novel features an African-American veterinarian
      heroine, a wood elf hero, his best friend who happens to be an
      African-American werewolf homicide detective, the detective's Irish
      lesbian partner and an elvish serial killer who feeds on his victims'
      agony, fear and horror while he tortures them to death. I have a
      sequel planned to this book entitled Wild Hunt that will continue
      where Night Moves ends.

      4. What are you working on now?
      Right now I'm writing the sequel to Flare Zone, an Erotic Science
      Fiction Vampire novella that debuted 10/25/06 in the Fangs anthology
      at Loose Id. http://www.loose-id.net/detail.aspx?ID=333.

      The prequel to Flare Zone follows an entirely different hero and
      heroine about forty years prior to Flare Zone. The prequel is Hot
      Zone and it will debut January 2007 at Loose Id. http://www.loose-
      id.net/detail.aspx?ID=374

      The tentative title of the sequel that I'm writing now is Combustion
      Zone and this sequel continues to follow the adventures of the hero
      and heroine from Flare Zone.

      5. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
      I advise them to keep writing and find a good critique group where
      the critique partners will jump on every mistake and help the new
      writers polish all the rough edges from their stories.

      6. What's your website URL?
      My website url is www.sff.net/people/selkiewife
      The easy way to find my website is to simply Google my name, Barbara
      Karmazin, and that will bring you to the link for my website.

      * * * * *

      Some books I've been reading:

      THE LADIES OF GRACE ADIEU, by Susannah Clarke. All the stories in
      this collection are set in the alternate-history world of Clarke's
      bestselling novel JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL and deal in some
      way with relations between human characters and the denizens of
      Faerie. "On Lickerish Hill," for instance, retells the tale of Tom
      Tit Tot, the English version of Rumpelstiltskin. My favorites
      are "Mrs. Mabb," in which a young woman's former suitor becomes
      trapped in the home of the Faerie Queen for several months, which
      seem to him like a single tedious afternoon visit, until his
      sweetheart manages to break through the layers of elven illusion to
      save him; and "Mr. Simonelli or The Fairy Widower," in which the self-
      absorbed title character meets a fairy lord, who turns out to be a
      distant relative of his, and rescues a young mother imprisoned in the
      lord's mansion to nurse his baby son. "Tom Brightwind or How the
      Fairy Bridge Was Built at Thoresby" appealed to me less as a story,
      but it has a running commentary of very entertaining footnotes to
      recommend it. There's no comma missing from the book's title, by the
      way; "Grace Adieu" is a place name.

      IF ONLY IN MY DREAMS, by Wendy Markham. The heroine of this Christmas-
      centered time travel romance, Clara, an actress, discovers in the
      middle of filming a movie about World War II that she has breast
      cancer. In the script she plays the sweetheart of Jed Landry, a real-
      life soldier from a small town, killed in the war. While she's
      traveling from New York City to Jed's hometown in 1940s clothes on a
      train decorated for the same period, the train passes through a time
      warp. She meets Jed, with whom she naturally feels an instant mutual
      attraction. She manages to return to her own year, finding that she
      has lost the same amount of time she "imagined" she spent in early
      December of 1941. When she makes her way back to the past, trying to
      keep Jed from enlisting in the military and getting killed, they fall
      in love, as the reader would expect. If she stays in a decade when
      effective breast cancer treatments don't exist, she will die. If she
      leaves (assuming she can), Jed will probably disregard her warnings
      and die in battle. This is a heart-wrenching story with vibrant
      characters and a vividly realized setting. Although I've read a fair
      number of time travel romances and thought I knew what would happen,
      the novel held some surprises for me. The rich old lady following
      Clara around in the present wasn't who I thought she was. And the
      story didn't conclude with either of the endings I expected. Because
      my own earliest memories encompass a period not too different from
      the 1940s (aside from the war threat and the fact that I lived in a
      city, not a small town), I got a nostalgic pleasure from the many
      familiar touches. (Not that I would consent to go back to the time of
      my childhood and live there unless someone paid me at least a million
      dollars -- in 1950s money!) This book will evoke tears, in a good
      way. Highly recommended. The novel has only one feature I don't like.
      It's told in the present tense. It took me way too long to get used
      to this annoying narrative quirk, a device I think should be used
      only in short stories. The simple past tense is "transparent,"
      whereas present almost always draws undue attention to itself and
      impedes the reader's suspension of disbelief. In my opinionated
      opinion.

      GAITS OF HEAVEN, by Susan Conant. The dog mystery series starring
      Alaskan Malamute owner Holly Winter is back. Huzzah! Though I enjoyed
      Conant's first cat mystery, SCRATCH THE SURFACE, it doesn't equal the
      dog novels. In this installment Holly and Steve have merged their
      households to form one establishment composed of two people, five
      dogs, and an antisocial cat. Holly takes on the job of training a dog
      whose New Age-ish owners have treated him like a spoiled child
      instead of a pet. When his mistress dies of a drug overdose, Holly
      uncovers the truth of the woman's death. To me, the best thing about
      this series is Holly's narrative voice. All the books contain humor
      as well as suspense and lots of fascinating inside information about
      the specialized world of dog breeding, training, and showing. They're
      set in Cambridge, where the author lives, breeding and showing
      Alaskan Malamutes like her heroine.

      HANNIBAL RISING, by Thomas Harris. I reluctantly have to confess I'm
      a bit disappointed by this prequel to RED DRAGON, THE SILENCE OF THE
      LAMBS, and HANNIBAL. On its own terms, it's an absorbing book,
      although throughout I felt somewhat emotionally distanced from the
      characters, even Hannibal as an orphaned child trying to protect his
      little sister in a harrowing plight. The background of the story
      shows extensive research into the situation in Europe immediately
      after World War II. After his parents, Lithuanian nobility, are
      killed by deserters who later eat his sister (an event he represses
      for several years), Hannibal is found brutalized and mute, ending up
      in a Soviet orphanage within his own parents' former castle. His
      uncle, a famous painter, rescues him and takes him to France, where
      the boy develops a passionate devotion to his uncle's Japanese wife,
      Lady Murasaki. At age eighteen, Hannibal becomes the youngest person
      ever admitted to medical school in France, and soon afterward he
      begins to track down and punish his family's killers. We learn a lot
      about young Hannibal's early education in the fine arts, his eidetic
      memory, his phenomenal sense of smell, and the horrors that drive him
      to embrace murder and cannibalism. But we don't see enough of what
      the odious asylum superintendent labels him in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS,
      a "pure sociopath." In HANNIBAL, the narrator remarks that even when
      the future Dr. Lecter was a small boy, the servants felt uneasy about
      him, with the implication that his childhood ordeal only shaped the
      direction of his psychopathy, not created it. In HANNIBAL RISING, the
      only hint of this innate monstrosity is a single belated comment that
      perhaps his early life experiences evoked what was already within
      him. By the end of the book, we see Lecter, still a young man barely
      into adulthood, as the "monster" he appears to be in the previously
      published novels. Yet I feel the author doesn't quite succeed in
      rendering the internal mental life of the not-quite-human sociopath
      we meet in the other books. If you're a fan of the incomparable
      SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, you won't want to miss this background story.
      But don't expect too much.

      (That being said, in my opinion the novel is basically sound. It's
      nowhere near a disappointment on the scale of Ira Levin's disastrous
      sequel to ROSEMARY'S BABY, which begins promisingly, devolves into
      drivel somewhere in the middle, and concludes with what amounts to
      an "it was all a dream" ending that retroactively ruins the whole
      story.)

      Here's the opening scene of my vampire novel CHILD OF TWILIGHT,
      sequel to DARK CHANGELING. It's my first use of an immature female
      vampire as a viewpoint character:

      NEVER LET THEM suspect what you are.
      Her mentor's warning, repeated innumerable times, rattled inside
      Gillian's skull. What am I, anyway? And aren't I somehow part
      of "them," too?
      Waving at the van whose lights cut through the sheet of rain, she
      buried these thoughts beneath the need of the moment. Her mentor had
      often cautioned her against excessive brooding, too. Cultivating self-
      doubt would make her vulnerable.
      Not thinking can kill you; on the other hand, thinking too much
      instead of acting can kill you just as quickly.
      Oh, leave me alone! she ordered the ghostly whisper inside her
      brain. She'd made the considered choice to run away from her
      guardian, Dr. Volnar; why couldn't she stop thinking of him for more
      than five minutes straight? At the moment she'd better concentrate on
      improving her condition—tired, hungry, penniless, and wet. While the
      December rain didn't chill her, even in a lightweight jacket, she
      detested being soaked as much as any cat. And the money she'd
      pilfered from Volnar's wallet had paid for a bus ticket only as far
      as Richmond.
      Besides, this is supposed to be an adventure. Her first chance to
      mix with—their kind—without her guardian looming over her shoulder.
      She'd better make the most of it while she could.
      The van screeched to a stop on the shoulder of the on-ramp. When
      the driver, a lean, middle-aged man with a pointed beard, edged over
      to peer at her through the passenger window, Gillian heard him
      exclaim, "My God, it's a kid!"
      Opening the door, he shouted to her, "Get in, you're drenched
      already!"
      Gillian climbed into the car, shrugged off her jacket, and
      dropped her backpack between the two front bucket seats. "Thank you
      for stopping, sir." She stole a longer look at the driver. He wore a
      fur-collared leather coat and matching leather gloves. His hair,
      receding in front, was curly and abundant elsewhere, gray-streaked
      brown like the beard. She felt indignation mingled with curiosity in
      the stare he gave her.
      The van roared onto Interstate 64. "I'm Adam Greer. Who might you
      be?"
      "Gillian."
      "Just Gillian?"
      Hands folded in her lap, she kept quiet. The less she revealed
      the better.
      "Good enough—Gillian. Don't you have any idea how dangerous it is
      for a girl to hitchhike? Especially at night? Good Lord, I could be
      Jack the Ripper for all you know!"
      "Impossible," she said. "He lived in the nineteenth century."
      Greer's answering chuckle reminded her of another of Volnar's
      warnings—not to take every statement literally. Fortunately Greer
      seemed to accept the comment as a joke.
      "How old are you, anyway?"
      She saw no reason not to answer that question truthfully. As
      Volnar had instructed her (Why couldn't she keep him out of her
      thoughts? What kind of independence was that?), minimizing the number
      of lies one had to keep track of made life less complicated. "I'm
      twelve."
      "Tall for your age," Greer muttered.
      And skinny, she could almost hear the man thinking. Gillian
      wondered if she'd made a mistake, if she should have claimed to be
      older. Yet she knew her slim, flat-chested body didn't resemble a
      teenager's. Better to present herself as an unusually tall pre-
      adolescent. She ran her fingers through her dripping red curls and
      sat up straight, trying to keep water off the upholstery.
      Squinting through dark-rimmed glasses at the highway, shiny with
      rain, Greer said, "How far are you going?"
      A potential trap? No, what harm could that truth do her? "To
      Annapolis."
      He made a hmph sound of acknowledgement. "Heading in that general
      direction myself. I'm going to a convention in College Park—on the
      upper side of the Washington beltway, if you don't know the area."
      "I have studied maps." The dubious glance he gave her worried
      Gillian. Her speech must not ring true for a twelve-year-old girl,
      but how could she remedy that problem when she'd had so little
      experience yet? Well, that's one reason I'm here, to get
      experience. "What kind of convention, sir?" Maybe she could get him
      to talk about himself instead of her.
      Greer flashed her a smile. "It's a pleasure to meet a polite kid
      these days, but you don't have to overdo it. A science fiction
      convention—I'm scheduled to be on a panel about UFOs. I teach
      sociology at William and Mary, and along with more scholarly articles
      on the topic, I've published a few popular books on contemporary
      urban superstitions. Hey, there I go lecturing, as if you'd be
      interested. Sorry, besetting sin of us academics."
      Gillian rummaged through the mental file of her nonfiction
      reading and came up with a vague picture of what he meant. "But I am
      interested, professor. Superstitions? Like alligators in the sewers
      of New York?"
      He seemed surprised that she'd caught on so readily. "Right, and
      the tale of the Hook, the spiders in the imported cactus, the organ-
      stealing crime ring, and all sorts of wild stories that go around
      with nobody sure how or where they started. And other popular beliefs
      that don't strictly fit the urban label, like Bigfoot and UFOs full
      of little green men from Venus."
      "There can't be humanoid life on Venus," Gillian said. "It is
      much too hot."
      "Right you are." Professor Greer laughed. "Gillian, you're
      something else, as we used to say at your age." His amusement
      faded. "I hate to think of you out on the road alone. I've got a
      niece not much older than you. Listen, if you're running away, you
      can tell me about it. I won't turn you in to the cops."
      Gillian heard sincerity in the man's voice. The deep pink halo of
      his aura didn't flicker. Maybe she could tell him enough of the
      truth, shaded with fabricated details to win his sympathy, to induce
      him to help her. Either that or she would have to find another ride
      farther up the highway, and she was so tired already. She hadn't
      slept all day. "I'm going to visit my father, and I ran out of bus
      money."
      The professor radiated skepticism. "Your parents are divorced?"
      She nodded. "So why didn't he send you enough money to start with?"
      She scrambled for a plausible explanation. One sprang to mind
      from the soap operas she watched as part of her education. "He
      doesn't know I'm on my way. I couldn't get in touch with him." She
      injected a tremor into her voice. "He would have contacted my mother
      about the arrangements, and if she knew about it—" She paused,
      pretending to choke on suppressed tears, and watched the man's
      reaction.
      Greer exuded sympathy. Her technique was working. A tiny thrill
      tingled along her nerves. So this is what we cultivate them for! And
      it wasn't as difficult as she'd feared either.
      "She'd stop me. You see, her husband—" Gillian covered her face
      with her hands, afraid to volunteer anything specific for fear of
      striking a false note.
      "Poor kid—you don't have to go into details." His voice rough
      with distress, Greer reached over to pat Gillian's shoulder. A rush
      of warmth suffused her. For a second she felt energized despite her
      fatigue and hunger. She wanted more of this!
      "I couldn't tell my mother about it. She'd believe my stepfather,
      not me." Gillian groped for the professor's hand. The touch of his
      fingers sparked another delightful surge of electricity.
      The van swerved. Snatching his hand away from Gillian's, Greer
      whipped the wheel around to steer the car back into its proper
      lane. "God, I must be more tired than I thought! Better take a break,
      get some coffee. I bet you'd like a snack, too."
      "I would like a glass of milk," she said.
      "Fine, I'll treat you to one." He glanced at the sign coming
      up. "There's an exit in two miles. Oh, I forgot all about this—" He
      dug into the pouch below the dashboard between the front seats and
      fished out a chocolate bar. "Be my guest."
      She gave the standard excuse she'd been taught. "No thank you,
      I'm allergic to it."
      With a shrug Professor Greer unwrapped the candy and started
      eating it. "No wonder I'm beat, grading exams until late this
      afternoon. Stupid of me not to wait until tomorrow to drive up, but I
      wanted plenty of time to meet with a few colleagues in the area. And
      a good thing, as it turned out, or I wouldn't have met you."
      Gillian tensed. What did he have in mind? Could she accept help
      from him without compromising herself?
      "I'll take you all the way to your father's. It's only an extra
      hour of driving time, no problem. You said he lives in Annapolis?"
      Gillian decided to accept the offer. Wasn't there a saying about
      the teeth of gift horses? Once convinced that she was safe with her
      father, Greer would vanish from her life with no harm done. "Not
      exactly in Annapolis," she said. "Across the Severn River in an area
      called St. Margaret's near Route 50."
      The van slowed for the exit ramp. "Have you ever been there?"
      "Only once, when I was very little, so I hardly remember it. But
      I have studied—"
      He laughed, "Yeah, I know, maps. So you can give me accurate
      directions?"
      "I believe so." She told him the street address.
      "Okay, it's a deal." He peered out the windshield at the
      deserted, wooded county road. The downpour had changed from rain to
      sleet. "I wonder how many miles to civilization?"
      "I don't know how to thank you," said Gillian, quoting a line
      she'd often encountered in books and TV dramas. She was enjoying the
      way she manipulated this creature so easily.
      With a dismissive wave he said, "Forget it. I'll feel better
      knowing you're safe. You can thank me by promising not to do anything
      this dumb again."
      "Yes, sir." Partly to divert him from his too-solicitous interest
      in her and partly out of genuine curiosity, she asked, "Isn't it
      unwise for you to pick up strangers too? Aren't you afraid?"
      "Not of a twelve-year-old—no offense," he chuckled. "And I do
      carry a pistol in the glove compartment on these trips. Probably
      against some law or other."
      Having read in the newspaper about armed conflict in California
      traffic jams, Gillian wasn't surprised to hear that the professor had
      a gun. "How many people have you shot?"
      He burst out laughing. "None. I'm not what you'd call the
      desperado type—" He glanced at her, taking his eyes off the tight
      curve he was negotiating. At that moment the tires skidded on the ice-
      glazed pavement. The professor spun the wheel wildly from side to
      side. Gillian heard his heartbeat shift into overdrive. Her own
      pounded out of control. The van slid across the curve and onto the
      shoulder. Its right front bumper collided with a sapling and
      rebounded.
      Gillian felt her safety belt strain against her chest. Greer's
      panic flooded her. She couldn't gather her wits to brace against the
      jolting of the car. She felt the brakes catch. The van fishtailed,
      plowed into a leafless clump of bushes, and stopped.
      Gillian's vision went dim. Something more than the wind howled in
      her ears. Her skin felt on fire. She leaped up, lunging against the
      belt and barely noticing it snap. Her bones were cracking open, her
      body turning inside out, her very essence boiling up from her heart
      and bowels.
      She doubled over, forehead on the dashboard. Abruptly the burning
      pain metamorphosed into a convulsion of ecstasy immeasurably beyond
      what she'd absorbed from Greer's touch.
      It ended too quickly. Her eyes cleared. Meeting the professor's
      dumbfounded stare, she glimpsed in her peripheral vision what held
      him transfixed.
      She saw the tips of her wings.
      What did he see? Only wings? Or also dark fur sprouting on her
      skin, the fangs and pointed ears of some feral creature from legend?
      His terror pierced her between the eyes. Or was it her own? This
      can't be—I'm too young—I don't know how! And then a still more
      terrible thought hit her: He saw me change!
      She fumbled for the door handle, jumped down from the van, and
      launched herself into the air.
      -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 time—
      Margaret L. Carter
    • margvamp
      Welcome to my newsletter, News from the Crypt, and please visit Carter s Crypt (www.margaretlcarter.com), devoted to my horror, fantasy, and paranormal
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 2, 2007
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        Welcome to 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/

        Happy New Year, all! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season,
        whatever traditional-winter-solstice-observance you celebrate. My
        main Christmas present was the DVD of FOREVER KNIGHT, Season 3. Visit
        the Photos section of this group for a picture of our 11-month-old
        granddaughter Alya on Santa's lap. Unlike many little kids in that
        situation, she isn't crying. There's also a photo of my husband
        holding her cousin Aiden at Christmas Eve dinner. We've had good luck
        with mild weather (in the 50s instead of freezing) most days
        throughout the holiday season. Of course, winter is still young.

        This month I interview Barbara Karmazin, award-winning author of
        erotic science fiction romance novels, many featuring her
        extraterrestrial Sidhe, who migrated to Earth ten thousand years ago:

        1. What inspired you to begin writing?

        The cancellation of the Beauty and the Beast TV show is what inspired
        me to begin writing. I was so upset that I started writing a letter
        to TV Guide detailing all the events I wanted to see happen next in
        the series. After the first ten pages of that letter, I put it aside
        and decided to write my own Beauty and the Beast novel entitled The
        Chronicles of Vincent and Diana. It took me four years to write that
        novel using an electric typewriter. Four years of trial and error,
        where I taught myself how to put a story together from beginning to
        end.

        By writing and finishing that first book, I proved to myself that I
        had the stubbornness and commitment to write and instead of writing
        about another author's characters, I then moved on to write my own
        stories with my own characters.

        Since then, I've published six full-length novels, two novellas and
        six short stories, all in the Science Fiction Romance and Erotic
        Science Fiction genres.

        Of my published books, The Huntress won 2005 Dream Realm Award, 2004
        CAPA Nominee Status and Top Ten Finalist in 2004 Preditors & Editors
        Poll Vote. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, won the 2004 Dream Realm Award
        for Best SF Erotica. 2005 CAPA Nominee Status and Top Ten Finalist in
        the 2005 Preditors and Editors Poll. Down Came a Blackbird was Fab
        Five Finalist in 2000 and Covenants also achieved 2004 CAPA Nominee
        Status.

        I have two novellas, Christmas Noir, http://www.loose-
        id.net/detail.aspx?ID=355
        which debuted 12/15/06 at Loose Id and Hot Zone that will debut
        01/2007 at Loose Id.
        Last, but not least, book number seven, Night Moves, will debut
        03/2007 at Loose Id.


        2. What genres do you write in?

        Science Fiction has always been my first love, followed by Mystery
        and Suspense. I write Science Fiction Romance,
        Erotic Science Fiction, Erotic Mystery Science Fiction and Dark Urban
        Fantasy Erotic Suspense.

        3. What is your latest or next-forthcoming book?

        My newest novel is a Dark Urban Fantasy Erotic Suspense novel called
        Night Moves. This novel features an African-American veterinarian
        heroine, a wood elf hero, his best friend who happens to be an
        African-American werewolf homicide detective, the detective's Irish
        lesbian partner and an elvish serial killer who feeds on his victims'
        agony, fear and horror while he tortures them to death. I have a
        sequel planned to this book entitled Wild Hunt that will continue
        where Night Moves ends.

        4. What are you working on now?
        Right now I'm writing the sequel to Flare Zone, an Erotic Science
        Fiction Vampire novella that debuted 10/25/06 in the Fangs anthology
        at Loose Id. http://www.loose-id.net/detail.aspx?ID=333.

        The prequel to Flare Zone follows an entirely different hero and
        heroine about forty years prior to Flare Zone. The prequel is Hot
        Zone and it will debut January 2007 at Loose Id. http://www.loose-
        id.net/detail.aspx?ID=374

        The tentative title of the sequel that I'm writing now is Combustion
        Zone and this sequel continues to follow the adventures of the hero
        and heroine from Flare Zone.

        5. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
        I advise them to keep writing and find a good critique group where
        the critique partners will jump on every mistake and help the new
        writers polish all the rough edges from their stories.

        6. What's your website URL?
        My website url is www.sff.net/people/selkiewife
        The easy way to find my website is to simply Google my name, Barbara
        Karmazin, and that will bring you to the link for my website.

        * * * * *

        Some books I've been reading:

        THE LADIES OF GRACE ADIEU, by Susannah Clarke. All the stories in
        this collection are set in the alternate-history world of Clarke's
        bestselling novel JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL and deal in some
        way with relations between human characters and the denizens of
        Faerie. "On Lickerish Hill," for instance, retells the tale of Tom
        Tit Tot, the English version of Rumpelstiltskin. My favorites
        are "Mrs. Mabb," in which a young woman's former suitor becomes
        trapped in the home of the Faerie Queen for several months, which
        seem to him like a single tedious afternoon visit, until his
        sweetheart manages to break through the layers of elven illusion to
        save him; and "Mr. Simonelli or The Fairy Widower," in which the self-
        absorbed title character meets a fairy lord, who turns out to be a
        distant relative of his, and rescues a young mother imprisoned in the
        lord's mansion to nurse his baby son. "Tom Brightwind or How the
        Fairy Bridge Was Built at Thoresby" appealed to me less as a story,
        but it has a running commentary of very entertaining footnotes to
        recommend it. There's no comma missing from the book's title, by the
        way; "Grace Adieu" is a place name.

        IF ONLY IN MY DREAMS, by Wendy Markham. The heroine of this Christmas-
        centered time travel romance, Clara, an actress, discovers in the
        middle of filming a movie about World War II that she has breast
        cancer. In the script she plays the sweetheart of Jed Landry, a real-
        life soldier from a small town, killed in the war. While she's
        traveling from New York City to Jed's hometown in 1940s clothes on a
        train decorated for the same period, the train passes through a time
        warp. She meets Jed, with whom she naturally feels an instant mutual
        attraction. She manages to return to her own year, finding that she
        has lost the same amount of time she "imagined" she spent in early
        December of 1941. When she makes her way back to the past, trying to
        keep Jed from enlisting in the military and getting killed, they fall
        in love, as the reader would expect. If she stays in a decade when
        effective breast cancer treatments don't exist, she will die. If she
        leaves (assuming she can), Jed will probably disregard her warnings
        and die in battle. This is a heart-wrenching story with vibrant
        characters and a vividly realized setting. Although I've read a fair
        number of time travel romances and thought I knew what would happen,
        the novel held some surprises for me. The rich old lady following
        Clara around in the present wasn't who I thought she was. And the
        story didn't conclude with either of the endings I expected. Because
        my own earliest memories encompass a period not too different from
        the 1940s (aside from the war threat and the fact that I lived in a
        city, not a small town), I got a nostalgic pleasure from the many
        familiar touches. (Not that I would consent to go back to the time of
        my childhood and live there unless someone paid me at least a million
        dollars -- in 1950s money!) This book will evoke tears, in a good
        way. Highly recommended. The novel has only one feature I don't like.
        It's told in the present tense. It took me way too long to get used
        to this annoying narrative quirk, a device I think should be used
        only in short stories. The simple past tense is "transparent,"
        whereas present almost always draws undue attention to itself and
        impedes the reader's suspension of disbelief. In my opinionated
        opinion.

        GAITS OF HEAVEN, by Susan Conant. The dog mystery series starring
        Alaskan Malamute owner Holly Winter is back. Huzzah! Though I enjoyed
        Conant's first cat mystery, SCRATCH THE SURFACE, it doesn't equal the
        dog novels. In this installment Holly and Steve have merged their
        households to form one establishment composed of two people, five
        dogs, and an antisocial cat. Holly takes on the job of training a dog
        whose New Age-ish owners have treated him like a spoiled child
        instead of a pet. When his mistress dies of a drug overdose, Holly
        uncovers the truth of the woman's death. To me, the best thing about
        this series is Holly's narrative voice. All the books contain humor
        as well as suspense and lots of fascinating inside information about
        the specialized world of dog breeding, training, and showing. They're
        set in Cambridge, where the author lives, breeding and showing
        Alaskan Malamutes like her heroine.

        HANNIBAL RISING, by Thomas Harris. I reluctantly have to confess I'm
        a bit disappointed by this prequel to RED DRAGON, THE SILENCE OF THE
        LAMBS, and HANNIBAL. On its own terms, it's an absorbing book,
        although throughout I felt somewhat emotionally distanced from the
        characters, even Hannibal as an orphaned child trying to protect his
        little sister in a harrowing plight. The background of the story
        shows extensive research into the situation in Europe immediately
        after World War II. After his parents, Lithuanian nobility, are
        killed by deserters who later eat his sister (an event he represses
        for several years), Hannibal is found brutalized and mute, ending up
        in a Soviet orphanage within his own parents' former castle. His
        uncle, a famous painter, rescues him and takes him to France, where
        the boy develops a passionate devotion to his uncle's Japanese wife,
        Lady Murasaki. At age eighteen, Hannibal becomes the youngest person
        ever admitted to medical school in France, and soon afterward he
        begins to track down and punish his family's killers. We learn a lot
        about young Hannibal's early education in the fine arts, his eidetic
        memory, his phenomenal sense of smell, and the horrors that drive him
        to embrace murder and cannibalism. But we don't see enough of what
        the odious asylum superintendent labels him in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS,
        a "pure sociopath." In HANNIBAL, the narrator remarks that even when
        the future Dr. Lecter was a small boy, the servants felt uneasy about
        him, with the implication that his childhood ordeal only shaped the
        direction of his psychopathy, not created it. In HANNIBAL RISING, the
        only hint of this innate monstrosity is a single belated comment that
        perhaps his early life experiences evoked what was already within
        him. By the end of the book, we see Lecter, still a young man barely
        into adulthood, as the "monster" he appears to be in the previously
        published novels. Yet I feel the author doesn't quite succeed in
        rendering the internal mental life of the not-quite-human sociopath
        we meet in the other books. If you're a fan of the incomparable
        SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, you won't want to miss this background story.
        But don't expect too much.

        (That being said, in my opinion the novel is basically sound. It's
        nowhere near a disappointment on the scale of Ira Levin's disastrous
        sequel to ROSEMARY'S BABY, which begins promisingly, devolves into
        drivel somewhere in the middle, and concludes with what amounts to
        an "it was all a dream" ending that retroactively ruins the whole
        story.)

        Here's the opening scene of my vampire novel CHILD OF TWILIGHT,
        sequel to DARK CHANGELING. It's my first use of an immature female
        vampire as a viewpoint character:

        NEVER LET THEM suspect what you are.
        Her mentor's warning, repeated innumerable times, rattled inside
        Gillian's skull. What am I, anyway? And aren't I somehow part
        of "them," too?
        Waving at the van whose lights cut through the sheet of rain, she
        buried these thoughts beneath the need of the moment. Her mentor had
        often cautioned her against excessive brooding, too. Cultivating self-
        doubt would make her vulnerable.
        Not thinking can kill you; on the other hand, thinking too much
        instead of acting can kill you just as quickly.
        Oh, leave me alone! she ordered the ghostly whisper inside her
        brain. She'd made the considered choice to run away from her
        guardian, Dr. Volnar; why couldn't she stop thinking of him for more
        than five minutes straight? At the moment she'd better concentrate on
        improving her condition—tired, hungry, penniless, and wet. While the
        December rain didn't chill her, even in a lightweight jacket, she
        detested being soaked as much as any cat. And the money she'd
        pilfered from Volnar's wallet had paid for a bus ticket only as far
        as Richmond.
        Besides, this is supposed to be an adventure. Her first chance to
        mix with—their kind—without her guardian looming over her shoulder.
        She'd better make the most of it while she could.
        The van screeched to a stop on the shoulder of the on-ramp. When
        the driver, a lean, middle-aged man with a pointed beard, edged over
        to peer at her through the passenger window, Gillian heard him
        exclaim, "My God, it's a kid!"
        Opening the door, he shouted to her, "Get in, you're drenched
        already!"
        Gillian climbed into the car, shrugged off her jacket, and
        dropped her backpack between the two front bucket seats. "Thank you
        for stopping, sir." She stole a longer look at the driver. He wore a
        fur-collared leather coat and matching leather gloves. His hair,
        receding in front, was curly and abundant elsewhere, gray-streaked
        brown like the beard. She felt indignation mingled with curiosity in
        the stare he gave her.
        The van roared onto Interstate 64. "I'm Adam Greer. Who might you
        be?"
        "Gillian."
        "Just Gillian?"
        Hands folded in her lap, she kept quiet. The less she revealed
        the better.
        "Good enough—Gillian. Don't you have any idea how dangerous it is
        for a girl to hitchhike? Especially at night? Good Lord, I could be
        Jack the Ripper for all you know!"
        "Impossible," she said. "He lived in the nineteenth century."
        Greer's answering chuckle reminded her of another of Volnar's
        warnings—not to take every statement literally. Fortunately Greer
        seemed to accept the comment as a joke.
        "How old are you, anyway?"
        She saw no reason not to answer that question truthfully. As
        Volnar had instructed her (Why couldn't she keep him out of her
        thoughts? What kind of independence was that?), minimizing the number
        of lies one had to keep track of made life less complicated. "I'm
        twelve."
        "Tall for your age," Greer muttered.
        And skinny, she could almost hear the man thinking. Gillian
        wondered if she'd made a mistake, if she should have claimed to be
        older. Yet she knew her slim, flat-chested body didn't resemble a
        teenager's. Better to present herself as an unusually tall pre-
        adolescent. She ran her fingers through her dripping red curls and
        sat up straight, trying to keep water off the upholstery.
        Squinting through dark-rimmed glasses at the highway, shiny with
        rain, Greer said, "How far are you going?"
        A potential trap? No, what harm could that truth do her? "To
        Annapolis."
        He made a hmph sound of acknowledgement. "Heading in that general
        direction myself. I'm going to a convention in College Park—on the
        upper side of the Washington beltway, if you don't know the area."
        "I have studied maps." The dubious glance he gave her worried
        Gillian. Her speech must not ring true for a twelve-year-old girl,
        but how could she remedy that problem when she'd had so little
        experience yet? Well, that's one reason I'm here, to get
        experience. "What kind of convention, sir?" Maybe she could get him
        to talk about himself instead of her.
        Greer flashed her a smile. "It's a pleasure to meet a polite kid
        these days, but you don't have to overdo it. A science fiction
        convention—I'm scheduled to be on a panel about UFOs. I teach
        sociology at William and Mary, and along with more scholarly articles
        on the topic, I've published a few popular books on contemporary
        urban superstitions. Hey, there I go lecturing, as if you'd be
        interested. Sorry, besetting sin of us academics."
        Gillian rummaged through the mental file of her nonfiction
        reading and came up with a vague picture of what he meant. "But I am
        interested, professor. Superstitions? Like alligators in the sewers
        of New York?"
        He seemed surprised that she'd caught on so readily. "Right, and
        the tale of the Hook, the spiders in the imported cactus, the organ-
        stealing crime ring, and all sorts of wild stories that go around
        with nobody sure how or where they started. And other popular beliefs
        that don't strictly fit the urban label, like Bigfoot and UFOs full
        of little green men from Venus."
        "There can't be humanoid life on Venus," Gillian said. "It is
        much too hot."
        "Right you are." Professor Greer laughed. "Gillian, you're
        something else, as we used to say at your age." His amusement
        faded. "I hate to think of you out on the road alone. I've got a
        niece not much older than you. Listen, if you're running away, you
        can tell me about it. I won't turn you in to the cops."
        Gillian heard sincerity in the man's voice. The deep pink halo of
        his aura didn't flicker. Maybe she could tell him enough of the
        truth, shaded with fabricated details to win his sympathy, to induce
        him to help her. Either that or she would have to find another ride
        farther up the highway, and she was so tired already. She hadn't
        slept all day. "I'm going to visit my father, and I ran out of bus
        money."
        The professor radiated skepticism. "Your parents are divorced?"
        She nodded. "So why didn't he send you enough money to start with?"
        She scrambled for a plausible explanation. One sprang to mind
        from the soap operas she watched as part of her education. "He
        doesn't know I'm on my way. I couldn't get in touch with him." She
        injected a tremor into her voice. "He would have contacted my mother
        about the arrangements, and if she knew about it—" She paused,
        pretending to choke on suppressed tears, and watched the man's
        reaction.
        Greer exuded sympathy. Her technique was working. A tiny thrill
        tingled along her nerves. So this is what we cultivate them for! And
        it wasn't as difficult as she'd feared either.
        "She'd stop me. You see, her husband—" Gillian covered her face
        with her hands, afraid to volunteer anything specific for fear of
        striking a false note.
        "Poor kid—you don't have to go into details." His voice rough
        with distress, Greer reached over to pat Gillian's shoulder. A rush
        of warmth suffused her. For a second she felt energized despite her
        fatigue and hunger. She wanted more of this!
        "I couldn't tell my mother about it. She'd believe my stepfather,
        not me." Gillian groped for the professor's hand. The touch of his
        fingers sparked another delightful surge of electricity.
        The van swerved. Snatching his hand away from Gillian's, Greer
        whipped the wheel around to steer the car back into its proper
        lane. "God, I must be more tired than I thought! Better take a break,
        get some coffee. I bet you'd like a snack, too."
        "I would like a glass of milk," she said.
        "Fine, I'll treat you to one." He glanced at the sign coming
        up. "There's an exit in two miles. Oh, I forgot all about this—" He
        dug into the pouch below the dashboard between the front seats and
        fished out a chocolate bar. "Be my guest."
        She gave the standard excuse she'd been taught. "No thank you,
        I'm allergic to it."
        With a shrug Professor Greer unwrapped the candy and started
        eating it. "No wonder I'm beat, grading exams until late this
        afternoon. Stupid of me not to wait until tomorrow to drive up, but I
        wanted plenty of time to meet with a few colleagues in the area. And
        a good thing, as it turned out, or I wouldn't have met you."
        Gillian tensed. What did he have in mind? Could she accept help
        from him without compromising herself?
        "I'll take you all the way to your father's. It's only an extra
        hour of driving time, no problem. You said he lives in Annapolis?"
        Gillian decided to accept the offer. Wasn't there a saying about
        the teeth of gift horses? Once convinced that she was safe with her
        father, Greer would vanish from her life with no harm done. "Not
        exactly in Annapolis," she said. "Across the Severn River in an area
        called St. Margaret's near Route 50."
        The van slowed for the exit ramp. "Have you ever been there?"
        "Only once, when I was very little, so I hardly remember it. But
        I have studied—"
        He laughed, "Yeah, I know, maps. So you can give me accurate
        directions?"
        "I believe so." She told him the street address.
        "Okay, it's a deal." He peered out the windshield at the
        deserted, wooded county road. The downpour had changed from rain to
        sleet. "I wonder how many miles to civilization?"
        "I don't know how to thank you," said Gillian, quoting a line
        she'd often encountered in books and TV dramas. She was enjoying the
        way she manipulated this creature so easily.
        With a dismissive wave he said, "Forget it. I'll feel better
        knowing you're safe. You can thank me by promising not to do anything
        this dumb again."
        "Yes, sir." Partly to divert him from his too-solicitous interest
        in her and partly out of genuine curiosity, she asked, "Isn't it
        unwise for you to pick up strangers too? Aren't you afraid?"
        "Not of a twelve-year-old—no offense," he chuckled. "And I do
        carry a pistol in the glove compartment on these trips. Probably
        against some law or other."
        Having read in the newspaper about armed conflict in California
        traffic jams, Gillian wasn't surprised to hear that the professor had
        a gun. "How many people have you shot?"
        He burst out laughing. "None. I'm not what you'd call the
        desperado type—" He glanced at her, taking his eyes off the tight
        curve he was negotiating. At that moment the tires skidded on the ice-
        glazed pavement. The professor spun the wheel wildly from side to
        side. Gillian heard his heartbeat shift into overdrive. Her own
        pounded out of control. The van slid across the curve and onto the
        shoulder. Its right front bumper collided with a sapling and
        rebounded.
        Gillian felt her safety belt strain against her chest. Greer's
        panic flooded her. She couldn't gather her wits to brace against the
        jolting of the car. She felt the brakes catch. The van fishtailed,
        plowed into a leafless clump of bushes, and stopped.
        Gillian's vision went dim. Something more than the wind howled in
        her ears. Her skin felt on fire. She leaped up, lunging against the
        belt and barely noticing it snap. Her bones were cracking open, her
        body turning inside out, her very essence boiling up from her heart
        and bowels.
        She doubled over, forehead on the dashboard. Abruptly the burning
        pain metamorphosed into a convulsion of ecstasy immeasurably beyond
        what she'd absorbed from Greer's touch.
        It ended too quickly. Her eyes cleared. Meeting the professor's
        dumbfounded stare, she glimpsed in her peripheral vision what held
        him transfixed.
        She saw the tips of her wings.
        What did he see? Only wings? Or also dark fur sprouting on her
        skin, the fangs and pointed ears of some feral creature from legend?
        His terror pierced her between the eyes. Or was it her own? This
        can't be—I'm too young—I don't know how! And then a still more
        terrible thought hit her: He saw me change!
        She fumbled for the door handle, jumped down from the van, and
        launched herself into the air.
        -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 time—
        Margaret L. Carter
      • mlcvamp@aol.com
        Sorry, everyone. I didn t mean to send the newsletter twice. The Yahoo page indicated the first posting hadn t gone through. Best wishes, Margaret
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 2, 2007
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          Sorry, everyone. I didn't mean to send the newsletter twice. The Yahoo
          page indicated the first posting hadn't gone through.

          Best wishes,
          Margaret
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