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Margaret L. Carter's News from the Crypt No. 36 (September 2008)

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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 , Sep 1, 2008
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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/

      I'm a Jewels of the Quill spotlight author in September. Subscribe to
      our newsletter (information at the end of this e-mail) for chances to
      win free books.

      Vampire fans: The new HBO series TRUE BLOOD, based on the Sookie
      Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, premiers this Sunday!

      Fallen Angel Reviews gave TENTACLES OF LOVE a rating of 4 angels! They
      call it "a paranormal treat with a twist."

      Erotic-escapades.com says about my erotic shapeshifter novel LOVE
      UNLEASHED, "With humor and tension LOVE UNLEASHED will hold you
      spellbound from start to finish."

      I've uploaded one of my older horror stories, "After Birth," to the
      Files section of the newsletter's Yahoo Group. A Navy wife trapped
      alone with a newborn baby and without electricity during a snowstorm
      confronts her deepest fears in the mirror. Note: This story was
      written before e-mail became ubiquitous (hence the reference to
      waiting for postal letters).

      Below is an excerpt from "Manila Peril," a story that features two
      species of bloodsuckers based on Filipino mythology, different from
      the vampire race in my "Vanishing Breed" universe. The not-quite-human
      Filipina widow of an American naval officer in San Diego follows her
      son, Jeff, to a bar and watches him leave with a waitress who arouses
      her suspicions. You can buy "Manila Peril" and several of my other
      short stories (as well as novels, including my Silhouette vampire
      romance EMBRACING DARKNESS) on Fictionwise.com; just search for
      "Margaret Carter."

      This month we have an interview with Destiny Blaine, author of the
      vampire novel WINNING VIRGIN BLOOD (summarized in the "Books I've Been
      Reading" section) and many other erotic romances.

      *****

      Interview with Destiny Blaine:

      1. What inspired you to begin writing?

      For me, a career in writing consisted of feast or famine and happiness
      or discontentment. I was on the road a lot and away from my children.
      I missed ballgames and special family outings because I often spent
      weeks out on a job working in the hospitality industry.

      I'd always wanted to write and I guess, I've always been a writer. I
      wrote for myself and my family from childhood forward. However, I
      didn't necessarily want to step out and really pursue it until it
      seemed almost unavoidable. Basically, I tried everything else—even
      going back to college in pursuit of a degree I didn't want. I didn't
      find any contentment in anything until I started writing full-time.

      I started out as a ghost writer and quickly became more of a
      freelancer using some of the writer's resource connections online. I
      wrote (under my real name) several articles for *Gambling Online
      Magazine* (which were later published in a 2006 issue) and soon after,
      the now defunct *Money and More* bought a business article from me.
      Around the same time, one of the books I wrote for a client shot
      straight up on the Amazon charts and that's really when I decided to
      write less and less as a ghost writer. I don't mind sharing credit (or
      letting someone else have it for that matter, which is why ghost
      writers are "ghost" writers) but I don't want someone else to earn my
      profits!


      2. What genres do you write in? Do you find any special challenges in
      writing erotic romance as opposed to other genres?

      Let's see. I `think' I've written in every genre now except M/M, F/F,
      and hard-core erotica. Under my `real' name or as a ghost writer,
      combined with what I write as Destiny Blaine, I think I've covered
      most genres, at least once!

      The biggest challenge I faced when I first began writing erotic
      romance was "What will everyone think if they find out I'm writing hot
      romances?" Of course, the concern initially began because of three
      elements—I'm a Christian (writing erotic romance), I'm a mother, and
      what kind of example am I setting for my children? Now, my children
      couldn't care less. I've often thought it would've made my life easier
      if I'd `stepped out' of the writing closet with my real name rather
      than bounce between writing as Destiny Blaine and another name. Then
      again, it keeps things interesting and certainly keeps me on my toes!

      My son is 17 and in a lot of ways, he helps me keep things in
      perspective and because of him, I've been reminded again and again—I
      really don't care what anyone thinks. If someone (who knows me), reads
      my work, they'll clearly see erotic romance isn't just about the sex
      scenes incorporated. My stories are plot driven and inspired by
      characters I hope readers will learn to relate to, or perhaps even,
      care about. When a reader writes me and tells me they've fallen in
      love with one of my characters, I know I did my job and that's really
      important to me.



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

      I have two novellas coming out in August and two in September. In
      paranormal, the long anticipated *Bewitching Purpose* will be hitting
      the virtual shelves. I'm really excited about this short story because
      the series will leave readers well prepared for the novel that follows
      both *Bewitching Bite* and *Bewitching Purpose*. Following these two
      stories, the full-length novel will take readers on the continued
      journey of The Blood Countess and her torrid past will be revisited by
      Armand (hero) and Matilda (heroine).

      The debut of *Unspoken Truths* will be in August (around the end of
      the month). I think, it has the hottest of my alpha-males. Tanner is
      sexy, confident, and knows what he wants—but he's willing to walk away
      from the woman he loves in order to protect her so there are some
      interesting twists and turns throughout this story—just enough to keep
      the reader hungry for more!

      4. What are you working on now?

      I am working on sequels—and lots of them! I have several ongoing
      novels and novella series. I'm still working on the Winning Virgin
      Series (Siren Publishing) as well as the Blending Bloodline titles
      (Resplendence Publishing), one more Branded novella (eXtasy) and
      another Unspoken (Whispers) story and the Sports Wives Series from
      Bookstrand! Oh and I have a completely different novel (from what I
      typically write) for my publisher at Siren, and of course—edits!
      Yikes—and there's one more. There's an anthology I'm submitting
      something for and I'm super-hyped about it too because it's outlined,
      fully developed and ready to type!

      Then…there's this manuscript that literally has me by the throat
      (which is a good thing because my husband thinks it's my best one to
      date). The entire story is literally in my head and I just can't type
      it out fast enough. I write from sunrise until the wee hours of the
      morning right now and have a legal pad (actually two!) beside my
      computer crammed full of even more scenes, outlines, and snappy
      dialogue. I should be working on my sequels but this story is writing
      itself and I can't move away from it. I won't tell-all yet but I'm
      super-thrilled about it because the full manuscript has been requested
      by a well known literary agent so we'll see what happens. I hope
      something wonderful because this is a book that should `appeal to the
      masses' at the risk of sounding too cliché!




      5. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

      Don't quit your day job until you hit a big deal or `several' good
      deals. Money can and will be made in e-pubs and small to mid-size
      publishing houses but you're going to work harder than you'll ever
      work in a 9-5 job and you won't make the money everyone else thinks
      you're making just by being tagged an author. I made more money when I
      was `tagged' a ghost writer. In fact, I know many freelancers who can
      and will make more money than I do. How do I know? Well, let's just
      say I took a large cut in pay when I went from `ghost
      writer/freelancer' to `author' and it's been a struggle to match that
      income—and I'm not sure if I've matched it yet.

      I'm a numbers person. Numbers with dollar signs in front of them haunt
      me almost as much as stories waiting to be put down on paper. I've
      learned, in order to survive with some level of sanity, my husband
      must manage the money side of this business. He does it better than I
      can—and this is where I have yet another piece of free advice for
      aspiring writers. If money (or lack of it) makes you nervous, turn the
      business of writing over to someone who can manage it better than you
      can. You're a writer—so write.

      That said, I want to add something else too. Very often, I hear from
      others in the business that they are writing for the love of their
      craft. That's truly wonderful and I commend all writers who write only
      for the love of it. However, since I do write full-time, I have to say
      I write for the money and for the love of it. I've been criticized for
      it in the past and that's okay. Show me a publisher who only publishes
      for the love of books and I'll show you one who isn't going to have a
      writer's best interest at heart (never mind the fact they may fail if
      they don't turn a profit). In the end, it is about the bottom line
      (yes, the money)—a publisher's, maybe an agent's, and a writer's— new
      writers need to keep this in mind before they sign their name on any
      contract.

      Finally, I think it's important to pass along to aspiring writers one
      piece of solid advice. It's a writer's job to promote their work. A
      publisher may promote or advertise a new book release
      but ultimately, the competition is fierce and the publisher didn't
      write the book—the author did and no one knows the book better. Unless
      writers are willing to roll up their sleeves and dust off those denim
      blues, they're just another writer with a book to sell. I think it's
      crucial for aspiring writers to enter into this business with the
      blinders off. It's important to understand book promotions can be hard
      work but if a writer has worked hard to create a literary masterpiece,
      then promoting should become second nature.

      6. What's your website URL?

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/destinyblaine_romance/ is my reader's
      group. Authors and readers are welcome to make this group their online
      home by posting their book excerpts and promos. Also, my website
      address is: www.destinyblaine.com and I'm online a lot over at:
      www.myspace.com/destinyblaine. Additionally, Just Another Paranormal
      Monday is open for business and chatting every Monday at:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ParanormalMonday.
      Also, I hope you'll join me for blogging whenever you have a minute
      at: http://destinyblaine.blogspot.com


      *****

      Some Books I've Been Reading:

      JUDAS AND THE GOSPEL OF JESUS, by N. T. Wright. Remember the media
      furor a couple of years ago about the newly discovered "Gospel of
      Judas"? This book by one of the foremost biblical scholars of our time
      provides a sound antidote to the hype. If you're at all curious about
      that peculiar document's place in the history of the church, this is
      the book to read. Wright is one of my favorite nonfiction authors, for
      his lucid, readable explanations of complex topics, understandable to
      any educated layperson but never "talking down." JUDAS AND THE GOSPEL
      OF JESUS makes short work of the claim to an early date for the Judas
      "gospel," briefly placing it in its proper milieu, the second century.
      Although authentic (not a medieval forgery), it tells us nothing about
      the historical Jesus or Judas—but a lot about the movements competing
      with the mainstream doctrines that became orthodox Christianity. Most
      of Wright's book expands upon Gnosticism, its role in the Gospel of
      Judas, and the religious and social implications of the popularity of
      Gnostic theology (or, more often, a highly selective version of it) in
      recent years. You can read a wide variety of Wright's talks and essays
      on his website, www.ntwrightpage.com, including a piece on the DA
      VINCI CODE, where he also discusses the current popular appeal of
      Gnosticism and conspiracy theories. If you're looking for in-depth
      information about the first-century roots of Christianity, he's the
      go-to author. Although he is British, happily a lot of his works are
      available on Amazon.com in U.S. editions.

      HEART OF STONE, by C. E. Murphy. This urban fantasy by the author of
      the "Urban Shaman" series displays strong world-building. Behind the
      scenes of the reality we know, the Old Races live in hiding among us.
      By the end of this novel, Magrit Knight, a Legal Aid lawyer, knows of
      djinn, dragons, selkies, vampires—and gargoyles. While jogging one
      night, she encounters Alban, a mysterious man who, unknown to her, has
      been watching over her. He becomes a suspect in a series of murders,
      and Magrit's determination to support him throws her into conflict
      with her on-and-off lover, Tony, a police detective. Meanwhile, a
      forlorn young woman with a baby enlists Magrit's help to get an
      injunction against having the abandoned building where she lives torn
      down. By the time Magrit, aptly known as "Grit" to her friends,
      discovers Alban's true nature, she has become entangled with several
      members of the other Old Races, too. Alban's kind can assume either
      human or winged gargoyle shape at night. By day, they turn to stone.
      Murphy makes her gargoyle hero, a creature one might consider
      grotesquely monstrous at first glance, fascinatingly attractive and
      even erotic. The plot is full of tension, danger, and emotional
      clashes between characters. Other books in the series are HOUSE OF
      CARDS and HANDS OF FLAME (coming soon). I like Magrit and am eager to
      find out whether she'll get back with Tony or find a way to manage a
      relationship with Alban. Not surprisingly, I'm rooting for the
      gargoyle.

      THE MAGIC OF REASON, by Justine Larbalestier. This Science Fiction
      Book Club omnibus edition comprises YA fantasy trilogy MAGIC OR
      MADNESS, MAGIC LESSONS, and MAGIC'S CHILD. Reason Cansino's mother,
      Sarafina, has a mental breakdown and gets committed to an institution.
      Reason is condemned (as she sees it) to live with her grandmother
      Esmeralda. According to Sarafina, she ran away from home as a teenager
      because Esmeralda abused and terrorized her while claiming to have
      magical powers. Sarafina has brought up her daughter to believe in
      only logic and science. Reason uses her phenomenal mathematical gifts
      to anchor herself whenever frightening or inexplicable things happen
      to her. Needless to say, life with the supposed wicked witch proves to
      be very different from what Reason expects. Also, the unconventional
      lifestyle she has led up to this point, wandering through the outback
      and small towns of Australia with her eccentric mother, leaves her
      unprepared for her grandmother's home in the middle of Sydney.
      Reason's world-view suffers radical disruption when she opens a back
      door in Esmeralda's house and emerges in New York City in the middle
      of winter. Reason acquires two staunch friends, Tom, a protégé of her
      grandmother, and Jay-Tee, a New York girl. She also acquires an enemy
      who apparently wants to steal her magic, for people with power can
      drain power from others, either by force or through willing donation.
      Reason learns that possessors of magic, such as the members of her
      family, face a dreadful dilemma: Either they use their magic regularly
      and die young, or they refrain from using magic and go mad like
      Reason's mother and Tom's father. This series offers an excellent
      example of the "ask the next question" principle. At first sight, one
      might think the discovery of magical gifts would transform the
      protagonist's life into something wonderful. Instead, the magic of the
      Cansino line is as much curse as gift and complicates the lives of
      those who hold it. Suppose magic could be "cured"? Some of the
      characters in this story want nothing more. Others think magic is
      worth its price. Larbalestier's premise is fresh and fascinating; the
      characters and story are deeply engaging. She helpfully includes a
      glossary of Australian dialect for the benefit of the American reader.

      WINNING VIRGIN BLOOD, by Destiny Blaine. This erotic romance, part of
      a series, offers the author's unique variation on the "soul mate"
      motif. Men of Orlando's family reach a point when they have to take a
      life mate. Orlando's parents present him with the vampire elders'
      decree: He must marry a virgin who has won more than she has lost and
      accepts him in full knowledge of his vampire heritage. Since Orlando
      enjoys Las Vegas and gambling, that seems like the logical place to
      send him in search of a mate. When he encounters Natasha, a casino
      winner who's beautiful as well as virginal, he instantly knows she
      belongs to him, since vampires recognize their destined consorts on
      sight. Naturally, she doesn't jump to that conclusion so readily,
      especially when Orlando separates her from her mortal escort and makes
      her his prisoner. At first he comes across as an arrogant boor,
      proclaiming that she belongs to him for eternity regardless of her own
      wishes, but he does have some excuse in that he's acting under an
      irresistible compulsion that must lead to either mating or death. In
      his favor, he doesn't make any move to force her; she must give up her
      virginity of her own free will. He uses a hot and heavy seduction
      technique, while Natasha fights back against her captivity in an
      appealingly feisty style. Orlando gradually becomes a more sympathetic
      character as his affection as well as lust for her becomes clear. The
      sex is both tender and steamy. Not surprisingly, Natasha eventually
      yields, but only when Orlando promises to bend the rules so that her
      new life won't cut her off from her beloved sister. I enjoyed seeing a
      virginal heroine, not common in erotic romance. Orlando's twin brother
      makes a nice foil for him, and their younger sister is cute.

      *****

      Excerpt from "Manila Peril":
      Perching on a bar stool, I ordered a white wine. The bartender, a
      short, stocky man with salt-and-pepper hair, served it and pushed a
      fresh basket of popcorn within reach. "Could I ask you about that
      waitress who just left?" I said.
      "Corazon? What about her?" he said in accented English.
      *Yeah, what do I want to know, anyway? Whether she has drug
      connections?* I decided to start simply, adding a psychic nudge to
      make him cooperative. "How long has she worked here?"
      "Couple, maybe three months."
      "Do you know anything about her past? I mean, where she's from,
      where she worked before?"
      "Lady, she's legal and she never misses her shift. What else do I
      need to know?" He started to move down the bar.
      I increased the mental pressure and switched from English to Tagalog.
      "Wait -- I'm just wondering if she goes out with many different men."
      "What are you asking all this for?" he said in the same language.
      "She steal your husband?" His faint smirk suggested that he figured
      he'd guessed right.
      "No, that's my son she just left with."
      The bartender's expression turned serious. "Don't worry too much
      about him. He's not the first, probably not the last. It never lasts
      long with her."
      *Great, now I have to worry about his heart getting broken.* "I
      don't want him hurt -- Is she married?"
      "Not that I ever heard."
      "What else, then?" I sensed an undercurrent of hostility, mixed with
      a tinge of fear, in his comments.
      The bartender muttered a word that sounded like -- no, it couldn't
      be. "What did you say?"
      "Danag," he repeated more distinctly.
      I took a deep breath to tame the racing of my heart. "What do you
      know about danag?"
      "Just a fairy tale. Nobody believes that stuff anymore. But if I
      did --" he glanced around and lowered his voice -- "that's what I'd
      call her."
      "Why?" I couldn't keep the sharpness from my tone.
      "Bloodsucking monster, that's what she looks like. You must've heard
      the legends back home. Like vampires in the movies."
      I reminded myself that lashing out at this superstitious fool
      wouldn't help my son. "Not quite like the movies."
      "The story goes, they used to live with the hill folks, the Isneg
      tribe. The danag worked with them in the taro fields, and the farmers
      gave blood to feed them. Until the demons got carried away and
      started draining people to death."
      "I've heard that their side of the story is a bit different. The
      danag did not become greedy; the mortals became selfish. They began
      refusing to donate the small amounts of blood they could easily spare.
      So the -- others -- had no choice but to take it by force." I drew a
      deep breath to quell my anger. "And if this girl seems not quite
      human, well, our people have tales of other kinds of `vampires.' The
      aswang and the tiyanak, monstrous ravishers who entice and drain men
      without mercy --" I cut off the lecture with an impatient shake of my
      head. Lurid legends would always prevail over facts. Why did I waste
      time defending my race to this idiot? Especially when I wouldn't
      allow him to remember the conversation anyway.
      A trace of fear crept into his eyes. He sidled toward the end of the
      bar, where one of the waitresses stood with her tray and an order
      slip. "I can't talk, I got work to do."
      With a command for him to forget he'd met me, I ended the
      conversation. I hurried back to the car, my thoughts churning like a
      storm-racked sea. The woman who'd seduced Jeff wasn't one of my kind,
      but could she be something even less human?

      -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
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