Margaret L. Carter's News from the Crypt No. 26 (November 2007)
- 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:
This month's issue features an interview with Nancy Pirri, author of
historical and contemporary romance.
Joyfully Reviewed comments about my undine novella, "Aquatic Ardor":
"I enjoyed reading about the coming together of these two very
different characters. . . . 'Aquatic Ardor' was a creative, quick, and
interesting tale about an unusual heroine." Read the full review at:
Free Thanksgiving cookbook from Jewels of the Quill! Download our
collection of recipes at:
I'm thrilled to report that the Marion Zimmer Bradley estate has
created a new Sword and Sorceress anthology, with a new publisher
picking up where the DAW series of volumes left off. SWORD AND
SORCERESS XXII will be published on November 15 by Norilana Books
(www.norilana.com). An excerpt from my story in this book, "Vanishing
Village," appears below.
Interview with Nancy Pirri:
1. What inspired you to begin writing? I think after devouring several
Harlequins I decided I might have a story to tell.
2. What genres do you write in? Historical is my first love, for both
reading and writing, contemporary and erotica.
3. What is your latest or next-forthcoming book? Western Ways
anthology from Midnight Showcase, with my story, To Tame A Gambler,
was released October 1. In December I have a story, The Music Master,
that will be in a holiday anthology to be released by Romance at Heart
Publishing. January I have an anthology consisting of four of my
stories in Dame Sapphire's Treasures, to be released by Whiskey Creek
4. What are you working on now? A story for a 'Biker and Bootys'
anthology to be released in January from Midnight Showcase.
5. What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Keep a pad of paper
and pen handy cause an idea may strike at any given moment, in any
situation, at any place. Be prepared!
6. What's your website URL? www.nancypirri.com
Thanks for interviewing me, Margaret!
* * * * *
Some Books I've Been Reading:
MAKING MONEY, by Terry Pratchett. Moist von Lipwig, the former thief
and con artist who reformed mail delivery on Discworld in GOING
POSTAL, gets a new job in this novel. The elegantly menacing and
terrifyingly intelligent ruler of the city, Lord Vetinari, puts the
reluctant Lipwig in charge of the Ankh-Morpork bank and mint. Lipwig
tries to refuse, only to be forced into the position by inheriting
guardianship of a small dog that owns 51 percent of the bank's shares.
Inspired by the success of his earlier innovation, postage stamps,
Lipwig invents paper money. He puts Ankh-Morpork's monetary system on
the golem standard; after all, what is more valuable and
indestructible than a golem? Like all the Discworld books, this one
combines incisively funny satire with a serious undercurrent. Lipwig
manages to pull triumph out of disaster, while several factions plot
against him, including a frustrated would-be heir to the bank who
wants to assume Lord Vetinari's identity and gradually descends into
MANY BLOODY RETURNS, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner.
A must-read for vampire fans, this anthology combines the themes of
vampires and birthdays. Few of the tales are as lightweight as the
topic suggests, although some, such as Tanya Huff's Henry Fitzroy
contribution, have a humorous tone. Other distinguished authors
contributing stories include P. N. Elrod, Rachel Caine, Christopher
Golden, Kelley Armstrong, Jim Butcher, and Tate Hallaway.
GLASS HOUSES, by Rachel Caine. Caine's story in MANY BLOODY RETURNS,
which turns out to be a prequel to this novel series, the Morganville
Vampires, inspired me to pick up GLASS HOUSES. Therefore I started the
book knowing the town's secret, which most readers are meant to
discover gradually along with the protagonist, Claire, a freshman at
the small college in Morganville. Unmercifully bullied by the girls in
her dorm, Claire, a brilliant and unusually young student who ought to
be attending a major university, searches for an alternative living
arrangement and ends up in a mansion straight out of a Gothic novel,
owned by an enigmatic young man named Michael Glass. Mysteriously,
Michael never leaves the house or shows himself in the daytime, but,
no, he isn't a vampire. Claire learns that Morganville and all the
people in it are effectively owned by the vampires who rule the
community. Ordinary mortals can survive only by accepting the
"protection" of a vampire Patron. It's a bit like the culture of THE
GODFATHER, only with fangs. For a reason not revealed until well into
the story, Michael is exempt from this condition. An incautious deal
with one of the nastier vampires leads Claire to start searching for a
unique book that the vampires desperately need, although its magic
prevents any vampire from reading it. It appears that not all the
vampires are completely hostile to humankind, but they're all
dangerous. This is one of the most innovative approaches to the
"vampire as intrinsically evil predator" I've read in a long time. The
loose ends at the tense conclusion of this novel led me to order the
other two books published so far. Definitely one of the most
intriguing of the recent YA vampire series.
MARKED and BETRAYED, by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast. Another YA
vampire series, this one written by a mother-daughter team. It
features an intriguing variation on the vampire mythos. In this
alternate present-day United States, vampires exist openly, and many
famous people of history have been vampires. The change from human to
"vampyre" (as these books spell it) happens to teenagers who carry
certain genes. Not all fledglings survive the transformation, which
occurs gradually over several years. While undergoing this change,
they attend special boarding schools where they learn about their new
subculture while being watched over by older vampyres. Zoey Redbird
comes to the House of Night under the burden of rejection by her
mother and stepfather. On the positive side, she has inherited psychic
powers from her beloved part-Native-American grandmother. Right from
the beginning of her evolution as a fledgling, Zoey has mystical
experiences that set her apart from her peers. These vampyres are far
from evil; instead, they are attuned to nature and worship Nyx, the
goddess of night. Some of the fledglings, however, treat Zoey and
other new fledglings cruelly. And what really happens to those who
fail to survive the change? Do they simply die, or is something more
sinister going on? In MARKED, Zoey confronts and defeats the girl who
runs the clique of arrogant, secretive higher-level fledglings. She
must reluctantly take over the older girl's position as a leader among
the students. In BETRAYED, as the title indicates, she discovers
devastating truths about someone she has trusted and admired.
Meanwhile, she is torn between a potential love interest at the House
of Night and her former human boyfriend, who won't leave her alone
because her illicit tasting of his blood has bound them together. Well
THE POWER OF PROMOTIONAL GROUPS, by Karen Wiesner. This new book for
writers by the author of FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS focuses on the
specialized topic of promotional activities by organized author groups
(whether large or small). It also contains, however, many tips useful
for individual writers in planning their promotion. Written in a
clear, readable style, the contents range from the philosophical (why
promote? why join a group rather than going it alone?) to the concrete
(websites, advertising venues, newsletters, etc.) and from broad
principles to very specific advice. Discussions of strategy and
tactics emphasize flexibility, offering many alternative suggestions
that can benefit published writers at any stage of their careers.
Those with the most to gain from joining a group and implementing
these low-cost, high return methods of promotion, though, are probably
authors published by small presses and e-publisherswriters who don't
enjoy the mass marketing advantages offered by large New York
publishers. The appendices contain huge lists of useful websites and
other information that would be helpful to both promotional groups and
authors promoting themselves as individuals. Any writer looking for
innovative, effectively targeted ways of marketing her or his work in
the electronic age can benefit from this lively, informative manual.
Excerpt from "Vanishing Village":
A shadow-shrouded, foreboding stand of ancient trees blocked the road
where the village of Meadowmill ought to be. The village that,
according to the inhabitants of the last town up the road, had
disappeared eight years before.
"I don't believe in vanishing villages," Liriel said to her partner
Bertrice, mounted on the horse beside her own.
"You and me both," said Bertrice, a slim, blonde woman with hair
cropped to just below her ears. Like Liriel, she wore plain leather
armor instead of the flowing robes most people expected of mages. That
costume might look impressive but wasn't very practical for riding
through the countryside. "And I don't like that emanation of vague
The raven perched on Liriel's saddle horn squawked in agreement. "As
far as I'm concerned, it's downright offensive," Liriel said. "As if
any halfway competent sorcerer couldn't scent the odor of magic in
that overblown effect." She ran her fingers through her sweat-dampened
shock of short, brown hair. "Notice anything odd about that patch of
"You mean, besides being older and denser than the rest of the forest
we just rode through?" Bertrice waved at the sparsely scattered,
second-growth trees on either side of the rutted lane. She shaded her
eyes against the noonday glare. "It looks too regular, like the same
six trees duplicated over and over."
"Which also screams 'magic' to me. Good observation. You'd make a fine
Her friend laughed. "No, I'll leave that devious magic to you. Give me
a nice, straightforward fireball or lightning bolt."
"Let's find out what Brom thinks of it." Sorcerous illusions fooled
only human sight, not a bird's or animal's. "Fly ahead and tell us
what you see," she told her familiar. Closing her eyes, she invoked
the link between her mind and the raven's.
With a caw of acknowledgment, Brom launched himself into the air and
flew straight ahead into the trees. But, as Liriel saw through his
eyes, the dark, glowering trees weren't there. As she'd expected, the
road continued unbroken except for the sunlight-dappled woods they'd
traveled through all morning. She silently directed the bird to
continue following the track. The trees thinned out until the road
wound through a stretch of grassy meadow into a cluster of
thatch-roofed houses. Brom flapped higher above the village and
spotted the stream with the mill that gave the hamlet its name. She
mentally called him to return to her.
"Just as we thought," she said after the bird alighted in front of her
on the saddle. "The town's still there, behind that stage set of
Bertrice nudged her horse into a trot up to the edge of the supposed
forest. "I've never seen an illusion of that size before. No offense
meant to your talent, but could you do that?"
"Maybe for a few minutes." Liriel walked her own horse to the verge of
the sorcerous mirage. "Whoever made this can maintain it permanently,
judging from the disappearing village rumors. Amazing."
"I guess that's where we have to look for Lord Malkus."
Liriel sighed. "He should've listened to the locals and stuck to the
main road. What possessed him to try a so-called shortcut, anyway?"
"I'd have expected him to take the long way home, if anything. If I
had the Duke for a father, that's what I'd do."
With a rueful laugh, Liriel agreed.
She'd hoped finding the Duke's younger son, a month overdue for his
expected return home from a routine diplomatic journey, would prove
equally routine. With luck, it would have involved nothing more
complicated than ambush by a band of outlaws or, best case, a side
trip to dally with a compliant tavern maid. She pronounced a single
word in the arcane tongue of spell-casters. Like the mouth of a
tunnel, a gap appeared among the trees. Through it, she sighted the
clear path Brom's reconnaissance had shown her. "We'd better leave the
She and Bertrice tethered their mounts under genuine trees surrounded
by a patch of fresh grass. Liriel then cast invisibility on herself
and her companion. The raven flew ahead of them, alighting on a tree
limb every few minutes for the women to catch up.
As they drew near the village, they noticed shallow holes, each a
couple of feet across, dug in the sward at irregular intervals. "What
do you make of that?" Bertrice whispered.
"Can't imagine," said Liriel in the same low tone. Digging for water?
With a stream running almost through the middle of town, the people
would hardly need a well on the outskirts, not to mention that none of
the holes delved deep enough for that purpose.
The houses they passed looked deserted. As they approached the village
common, she heard a murmur of voices and realized most of the
inhabitants must have gathered there. At the same time, she noticed an
odd sensation. It took her a minute to identify it. The air had
cooled. Instead of a midsummer day's sticky heat, Meadowmill enjoyed
the mild climate of late spring. Even the scent of the air had changed
to a floral aroma. "I think he's transmuted the weather," she murmured.
"Is that possible?" Bertrice's low-voiced question echoed her own
"I wouldn't have thought so, except in short bursts."
As soon as they reached the edge of the gathered crowd, she glimpsed
Lord Malkus, unmistakable with his imposing height and golden hair.
Standing with a group of people clustered near a long table, he didn't
look like a captive. No shackles, no armsmen training weapons on him.
Why had he lingered here? The next moment, though, her attention was
diverted by a man trundling a wheelbarrow to the center of the square.
He tipped the barrow to dump a load of dirt onto a blanket spread on
the ground, already partly covered by several heaps of earth and
Meanwhile, a woman upended a basket of leafy branches on the table.
A portly, gray-haired man dressed a bit more finely than most of the
villagers held up a hand. "Enough. Stand back, everyone."
They obeyed, opening a circle around leaf-littered table and the
blanket with its mounds of dirt. The people waited in expectant
silence. What in the name of all gods was going on? Seconds later, she
found out. A silvery glow shimmered over the cloth. When it faded,
stacks of vegetables, fruits, and loaves of bread had replaced the
soil and grass. The branches had changed to lengths of cloth.
Liriel heard a gasp escape from Bertrice. "Did I just see what I thought?"
"Yes, unless I've gone mad, too," Liriel whispered back. Renewed
murmurs from the crowd, as people lifted the food onto the table and
started handing it out, covered the slight noise of their
conversation. "Somebody transmuted all that stuff at once."
-end of excerpt-
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Moonlight Fantasy, devoted to erotic romance:
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Ellora's Cave: www.ellorascave.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