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Margaret L. Carter's News from the Crypt No. 17 (February 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 1 , Feb 3, 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

      Also, check out the multi-author Alien Romance Blog:

      In December I saw the new live-action film of CHARLOTTE'S WEB. I won't
      say it's either better than or not so good as the beautiful
      feature-length cartoon adaptation. Both are good in their own ways.
      The new movie places strong emphasis on the value of friendship, not
      only between Wilbur and Charlotte, but among all the animals.
      Templeton, the rat, is especially well done. His underground burrow is
      fantastic. The only small flaw I find is that the voice-over narrative
      doesn't use nearly so much of the text from the book as it should.
      These people think they're better writers than E. B. White?! Anyway,
      I'll definitely buy the DVD when it's released. This one is a keeper.

      Great news! HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS has a release date,
      July 21. But you all probably know that. :)

      Since January 16 was "Appreciate a Dragon Day" (don't ask me who makes
      up these things), I'm including an excerpt from Chapter Two of my
      story "Dragon's Tribute." Rowena is waking up after her first night as
      a captive in the dragon's lair.

      Here's an interview with Susan Kearney, author of THE DARE, THE
      ULTIMATUM, and other works of SF romance:

      > 1. What inspired you to begin writing?
      I was always a reader. My first love was SF, the second romance. When
      I read Joanna Lindsay's Warrior's Woman, I decided that I would love
      to write. I hadn't a clue how hard it would be but I wrote five books
      in 18 months and finally sold.

      > 2. What genres do you write in?
      I have written historical, contemporary and futuristic romance. I've
      written paranormal, romantic suspense and a science fiction book for
      Star Trek.

      > 3. What is your latest or next-forthcoming book?
      My next book is Island Heat. Here's the blurb and the cover. I'm very
      proud of this because my daughter photographed the couple on the
      cover. And the same couple is in my book trailer which you can watch
      here: www.susankearney.com

      He dominated with an otherworldly seductive power . . .

      What was happening to her? Former screen siren Shara Weston lived on
      an exotic and private South Pacific island as a recluse . . . until
      disturbingly masculine and utterly captivating Cade Archer fell out of
      the sky and into her life. Now, Cade gives her no choice but to follow
      him down a sensual path that fulfills her every desire.

      Cade's on a mission to open a portal between Shara's island volcano
      and his world. But not everyone wants him to succeed. A powerful enemy
      has followed Cade to prevent him from sending the resources through
      the portal that will free his people.

      While Cade's mission is as compelling as his dominating sensuality,
      Shara must find a way to fight him . . . to stop his mission because
      the fate of every man, woman and child on Earth is at stake.

      Read an excerpt <http://www.susankearney.com/island_heat.html>

      > 4. What are you working on now?
      Right now I'm working on promoting ISLAND HEAT and sending out
      advanced reading copies for KISS ME DEADLY, a lead romantic suspense
      from Tor that will be out in July. I'm also revising Solar heat which
      will be out in February of 08.

      > 5. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
      You need to be persistent. And don't give up your day job until after
      you've sold five books. It takes a long time for those royalties to
      come in.

      > 6. What's your website URL? www.susankearney.com


      Some books I've been reading:

      MY NERDY VALENTINE, by Vicki Lewis Thompson. Amanda, a psychology
      student interning in a sex therapist's office, has an embarrassing
      first meeting with William, a stockbroker in her office building. (The
      bag of sex aids she bought for her boss breaks and spills in front of
      him.) She fights her attraction to William for reasonably plausible
      personal reasons, while her uninhibited boss, Gloria, aggressively
      tries to seduce him. Meanwhile, one of Gloria's male clients send
      anonymous valentines to Amanda and progresses to full-bore stalking.
      He's presented as more of a comic threat than a lethal one, so
      suspense is maintained without getting too scary. Amanda's nosy but
      kindhearted elderly neighbors add more humor. A fun story,
      recommended. I'd love to visit the Geekland Bar, where Amanda works
      her second job. While I wish William were more of a nerd than he is, I
      see only one actual flaw in the book: Sex therapist Gloria's behavior
      is so unprofessional that I had trouble believing in her as a
      character. She redeems herself somewhat at the end, but too late to
      erase (for me) the negative impression. Still, I feel motivated to
      seek out some of Thompson's earlier books in this "Nerd" series. I
      love a serious, intellectual, verbally adept hero! (Lord Peter Wimsey,
      for example.)

      Barbara Ehrenreich. I found Ehrenreich's earlier book on the American
      workplace, NICKEL AND DIMED, an experiment in trying to live on
      minimum wage jobs, very absorbing. This one excites me less, but it's
      still interesting (and appalling). The author again goes "undercover,"
      this time searching for a corporate white-collar position with salary
      and benefits. As a college graduate with decades of journalism
      experience, she expected to find this endeavor easier than the
      minimum-wage experiment, but that preconception turned out to be
      false. During the period (more than a year) in which she job-searched,
      trying out numerous coaches, seminars, websites, etc., along the way,
      she wasn't offered a single real job. I was shocked not only by that
      result but by the revelation of how fuzzy the whole process is. Also
      thankful that I've never had to work in that environment. For one
      thing, instead of rationally matching applicants to skills, employers
      and recruiters rely heavily on "personality tests" of dubious value.
      In contrast to our parents' generation, when an individual could
      expect to hold two or three jobs in his/her lifetime and retire on a
      standard pension after twenty or more years with one company, the
      current volatile white-collar job market has created a new kind of
      unemployed (or underemployed) class. Scary.

      THE NARROWS, by Alexander C. Irvine. An alternate history set in World
      War II Detroit (which means "The Narrows"). Magic and some
      supernatural beings exist, although not known to the general public,
      and of course government agencies have been formed to deal with this
      fact. Jared, a young husband and father, works in a golem factory
      owned by the Ford Motor Company. He breaks up and sifts clay (European
      clay, because golems made of local earth won't leave North America) to
      be molded into figures later animated by the factory's kabbalistic
      rabbi. Jared sometimes thinks he glimpses golems on the battlefield in
      movie newsreels, but most of the time he feels discouraged by the
      mindless nature of his work and his inability to enlist in the
      military because of a childhood injury to his hand. He's also having
      trouble with his wife, who works in another of the Ford plants and
      makes more money than he does. As a child, Jared saw the Red Dwarf, a
      creature whose appearance has always foretold disaster to Detroit.
      This encounter draws attention to him, and agents of various covert
      organizations, as well as his own boss, try to use him to dig up
      information, especially about the Willow Run plant near his wife's
      workplace. The final revelation of what's really going on at Willow
      Run surprised me but felt completely appropriate. The gritty details
      of life in a big industrial city during the war are vividly rendered.
      Highly recommended for anyone who likes alternate history.


      Excerpt from DRAGON'S TRIBUTE:

      When Rowena woke up, she lay alone on the pile of cushions. She
      stretched, her muscles aching with an almost pleasant soreness.
      Daylight splashed through the cave entrance. She pulled herself to her
      feet and visited the pool chamber for a quick wash. Then she wrapped
      one of the silk sheets around her and walked to the portal.

      The ravine yawned beneath her. Kneeling, she crept to the edge and
      looked down. A sheer drop met her eyes. She tossed a pebble into the
      air and watched it plummet to the distant ground. Lightheaded and
      queasy, she stood up and retreated to the entrance. Even if she wanted
      to escape, of which she wasn't sure anymore, climbing down that wall
      of rock would be impossible.

      She saw Virid, in dragon form, flying toward the cave. He carried
      something in his front claws. Stepping back, she watched him land on
      the ledge. He clutched the body of a doe.

      Rowena backed up farther while he deposited the deer in the middle of
      the great hall. For the first time she noticed a shallow depression in
      that part of the stone floor. The dragon scooped a bundle of sticks
      and logs from a stack at one side of the room. He blew a burst of
      flame from his mouth to ignite the firewood. Rowena jumped and let out
      a shriek. His glittering eyes turned toward her in what looked like

      The flames leaped high, with the smoke curling up to the crevice in
      the ceiling. The fragrance of the burning wood tickled her nose. The
      dragon used a claw like a curved knife to slice off a haunch of deer
      and held it in the fire to roast it. Rowena sat cross-legged on a
      cushion, waiting until he decided the meat was cooked enough to give
      it to her. She wrapped it in a scrap of cloth and blew on it, her
      stomach grumbling with impatience. Charred on the outside and pink on
      the inside, the venison tasted better than anything she'd ever eaten.
      In her "other life," deer belonged to the Baron. Nobody of her class
      could hunt them without the risk of hanging as a poacher.

      While eating, she worked up the courage to speak to him. "Do you stay
      in this cave all the time when you aren't hunting for game or
      snatching our herdsmen's sheep and cattle?" He showed no sign of
      anger, so she continued, "How do you spend your days?"

      "I rest on my bed, after a night of flying over the mountain heights
      where human watchers will not disturb me with their shrieks of panic."
      He gestured toward the treasure trove. "I dream of past eons when my
      own kind thronged the earth. Sometimes I read."

      She almost choked on a bite of meat. "You read?"

      His jaws gaped in what might have been amusement. "Why does that
      surprise you? Have you never heard about the wisdom of dragons?
      Several of those chests are filled with books and scrolls in many
      human languages. You may read some if you wish."

      "I can't read. Books are for priests and clerks." In fact, the only
      books she had ever seen were the leather-bound Bible chained to the
      lectern in the parish church and the volume used by the Baron's
      steward to record tax payments.

      "I shall teach you, then."

      She gazed into the fire, mulling over the strange notion of not only
      living with a winged reptile but having one for a tutor. "I do know
      some of my letters, enough to write my name. I learned from my
      grandmother." Grandmother would have taught her more, but Rowena's
      father had lashed out in anger and forbidden any such "useless dabbling."

      His brows arched. "Indeed? How did she learn?"

      "After her dragon let her go, or threw her out—she never explained
      which—she took up with a wandering minstrel. He also earned money as a
      scribe for people who needed letters written. He taught her to read
      and write."

      "What brought her to settle in your village?"

      "When they were passing through here, her man fell ill with a fever
      and died." Rowena tore off another strip of meat and chewed it,
      thinking over what little her grandmother had told her of that time.
      "She was almost ready to give birth to my mother. She bound herself as
      a farm laborer to earn her keep. When Mamma grew up and married, the
      Baron granted Grandmother a strip of land and a cottage next to my
      parents' holding." She gazed into the dragon's unblinking eyes. "You
      can't possibly be interested in an old woman's life story."

      "But I am. I recognize the runes on the amulet."

      Clutching the disk, she ran her fingers over the etchings. "What do
      they say?"

      "The name of the original owner. Chrysargentophylax."

      Her eyes widened. "You know him? Grandmother's dragon?"

      His mouth stretched in what looked even more like a sardonic smile.
      "Of course. There are so few of us left now, it would be a wonder if I
      did not."

      After the dragon devoured his share of the carcass, he flew outside to
      drop the remains into the ravine. He returned to Rowena and encircled
      her with his forefeet. Her heart raced at the touch of his claws, but
      she didn't fear them now.

      "Why did you say your grandmother's amulet failed?"

      "I told you." She leaned against his smooth, warm chest. "She claimed
      it would protect me from the dragon, but here I am. Your prisoner."

      "My guest. My beloved." The words rumbled in her ears. "The amulet did
      protect you. It made me love you. And it revealed you as my true mate."

      "What?" She wiggled around to look into his gem-like eyes.

      "That is what I have sought in every maiden I took as tribute. A mate,
      one who can fulfill my passion and bear my young. Our kind become
      fewer every century. We are dying out." He pierced his own
      breast-scales with a claw tip. A trickle of blood, midnight blue
      instead of red, welled up.

      "What are you doing?"

      "Proving to you that you are my destined mate. Did you never ask your
      grandmother who sired her child?"

      "She wouldn't say."

      "I knew by the flavor of your essence," he said, "that you carry the
      bloodline of my own race. Your grandsire was a dragon. "

      "But my mother's an ordinary woman."

      "She never met one of us, did she? Her nature remained hidden.
      Here—taste." He guided her mouth to the puncture wound. "Awaken to
      your true self."

      She licked the drops of blood. The fluid seared her tongue. It burned
      through it, racking her body with convulsions like a raging fever. She
      melted, dissolved, re-formed, expanded. Fangs sprouted in her jaws.
      Wings burst from her shoulders. A green mist swirled before her eyes.
      When it cleared, she looked down to find the floor far below and her
      chest and legs gleaming with blue-green scales. The thong around her
      neck had snapped. She picked up the amulet and placed it on the
      treasure heap. She no longer needed protection.
      -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
      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
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