Margaret L. Carter's News from the Crypt No. 36 (September 2008)
- 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:
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
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 elseeven
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
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
elementsI'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 againI
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 wantsbut 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 storyjust enough to keep
the reader hungry for more!
4. What are you working on now?
I am working on sequelsand 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 courseedits!
Yikesand 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
incomeand 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
canand 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 writerso 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
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 bookthe 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:
Also, I hope you'll join me for blogging whenever you have a minute
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 Judasbut 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, vampiresand 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
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
"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-
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You can contact me at: MLCVamp@...
"Beast" wishes until next time
Margaret L. Carter