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Margaret L. Carter's News from the Crypt No. 38 (November 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 , Nov 2, 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:

      Bitten by Books gave "Aquatic Ardor" a 4-tombstone review! "Melia had
      a lovely naive quality, and her dilemma was very real, her choice in
      the end determined by love."

      The same website gave my vampire novel DARK CHANGELING 4 and a half
      tombstones! "DARK CHANGELING. . . is a character study which delves
      into a human soul tormented by a nature at odds with its own
      definition of reality."

      Dracula fans: You'll want a copy of the outstanding documentary film
      DRACULA: THE VAMPIRE AND THE VOIVODE. It costs only $9.95 plus
      shipping. Here's the website to purchase the North American edition:

      The excerpt below comes from "Late Blooming," one of my stories in the
      Marion Zimmer Bradley SWORD AND SORCERESS anthologies. These stories
      are now available individually at Fictionwise.com.

      This month I'm interviewing Liz Hunter, author of romance novels such
      as her Troubled Waters series and Love on the High Seas series.


      Interview with Liz Hunter:

      1. What inspired you to begin writing?
      For as long as I can recall, I had my head in the clouds, making up
      Only when I discovered romance novels did I realize I could do this. Oh,
      sure. Easy to say. How many years later did it take? As many as it
      needed. I
      finally realized I needed to write the same thing, but different.

      2. What genres do you write in?
      I write romance and romantic suspense.

      3. Do you have a real-life nautical background that inspired you to
      focus on
      that theme in your fiction?
      My husband of thirty-five years is obsessed with sailing. I don't
      swim. With
      my writer's imagination, every move on the water is fodder for disaster.

      4. What is your latest or next-forthcoming book?
      Troubled Waters: A Collection of Novellas is now available.

      5. What are you working on now?
      I recently started a land-based project called Harrington's Arms, and I'm
      having fun with it.

      6. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
      Write the same kind of story you enjoy reading, only in your words.

      7. What's your website URL?


      Some Books I've Been Reading:

      THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, by Neil Gaiman. Openly a homage to Kipling's
      JUNGLE BOOK, this novel begins with a toddler's accidental escape from
      the man who has just murdered his family. The little boy wanders into
      a nearby historic cemetery, where the ghost of his mother begs the
      resident spirits to protect her son. Given the name Nobody Owens, Bod
      for short, he is brought up by ghosts instead of wolves and mentored
      by, instead of a bear, a vampire. Bod later also gets tutored by a
      female werewolf. He learns spectral skills such as Fading and has
      adventurous encounters with ghouls, night-gaunts, the spirit of a
      young witch, and a numinously terrible entity that guards an ancient
      burial mound, among other creatures. Venturing into the outside world,
      he clashes with a greedy antique shop owner and a pair of school
      bullies. All the while, the assassin who slaughtered his family hunts
      for Bod to finish the murderous mission in order to block the
      fulfillment of a prophecy (which, in keeping with authentic folklore
      tradition, would never have come to pass if the assassin hadn't killed
      Bod's parents and thereby driven him to take refuge in the graveyard
      to begin with). The book's conclusion, when Bod stands at the
      threshold between adolescence and adulthood, is satisfying yet deeply
      melancholy. If you've read any of Gaiman's other work, you don't need
      me to tell you not to miss this wonderful story.

      FOUNDATION, by Mercedes Lackey. I was delighted to see Lackey
      revisiting Valdemar after a lapse of years. I was also glad to learn
      that this novel, the first installment in the "Collegium Chronicles,"
      returns to an earlier era than the more recent books in the series.
      It's set about three generations after the time of Vanyel (the "Last
      Herald-Mage" trilogy). The Collegium as we know it in the later
      history of Valdemar is just being built. The protagonist, Mags, one of
      Lackey's typical abused children with hidden gifts, works at slave
      labor in a mine. He has never even heard of Heralds until his
      Companion arrives to rescue him from his grim existence. Mags' initial
      suspicion of the seemingly perfect new life he finds at the Collegium
      rings true. His good heart, of course, guides him through his
      adjustment, especially when he befriends a lonely female Bardic
      Trainee. He soon learns that perfect harmony doesn't reign among the
      Heralds, for some of them distrust the new system of training and deal
      harshly with unconventional Trainees such as Mags. Moreover, an
      unknown, sinister force begins to plague the Collegium, possibly a
      ghostly or demonic visitation. The vrondi make an appearance, one
      element about which the reader (having presumably read the Last
      Herald-Mage trilogy) knows considerably more than the characters. I
      found this novel absorbing and thoroughly enjoyable; I have only one
      objection to it. Yes, it's clearly marked as the beginning of a
      series, but does that fact justify the book's ending in the middle of
      the story? Not on a cliffhanger, which would be worse but in a sense
      more elegant. Instead, the story doesn't come to any particular
      conclusion but simply stops, as if the author ran out of her allotment
      of pages for this volume. Considering the year's gap we'll probably
      have to endure before the next episode comes out, I'm rather
      frustrated with Lackey on this point. Still, if you're a fan of the
      Valdemar universe, FOUNDATION is worth reading.

      FROM FIRST DRAFT TO FINISHED NOVEL, by Karen S. Wiesner. Although this
      writing manual is a companion book to FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS, one can
      work with it independently of the earlier book. FROM FIRST DRAFT...
      begins with a lucid summary of the method in FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS so
      that a writer can adopt that method and go on to integrate it with the
      techniques recommended in the new book. Using the metaphor of building
      a house from a blueprint and a solid foundation, Wiesner lays out a
      step-by-step plan for developing a polished novel from the "formatted
      outline" produced by the FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS method. She gives an
      abundance of examples from published novels so that the reader has no
      trouble grasping exactly what she means by each of her
      recommendations. This book introduces two very helpful concepts new to
      me, "story sparks" and the "punch list." It also includes a large
      quantity of useful checklists and worksheets. For writers like me, to
      whom outlining and pre-planning come naturally, FROM FIRST DRAFT TO
      FINISHED NOVEL will definitely be of great value. Many of its
      suggestions are bound to benefit "pantsers," too, however. If you
      already have FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS, be sure to add this "sequel" to
      your collection. If not, consider buying it anyway; the new book, as I
      mentioned, can stand on its own.

      WOLFSBANE AND MISTLETOE, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P.
      Kelner. The editors follow up their earlier anthology, MANY BLOODY
      RETURNS—combining vampires with birthdays—with this volume of tales
      about werewolves and Christmas. I found all the stories enjoyable in
      one way or another. It was especially fun to encounter Harris' Sookie
      Stackhouse ("Gift Wrap") and Carrie Vaughn's Kitty ("Il Est Ne"). The
      tone ranges from lighthearted (only a few entries, including a
      downright silly one, "SA," by J. A. Kornrath) to serious life-or-death
      situations all the way to one completely bleak, despairing short
      piece, "Lucy, at Christmastime," by Simon R. Green. The story that
      left me with the warmest feeling was the final one, "Keeping Watch
      Over His Flock," by Kelner. Jake, a parentless adolescent boy
      werewolf, spending his first Christmas with a lycanthrope foster
      family, longs to be accepted by the pack but also craves freedom and
      disdains adult guidance in the typical teenage way. When he rebels
      against his foster father's prohibition on running as a wolf by
      himself, Jake stumbles into a crisis that shows him the value of
      looking beyond his own selfish desires. I love the fable of the first
      werewolf as a participant in the Nativity.


      Excerpt from "Late Blooming":

      The air in the forest clearing shimmered like water, with a noise
      like a distant thunderclap. The shock of unleashed magic rippled
      through Miri. She straightened up, a mushroom clutched in her hand.
      *It came from back there. From home.*
      She knew at once that the wave of energy meant danger. The only mage
      presently at the manor, her Aunt Katwin, wouldn't have cast a spell of
      such shattering force for practice.
      Aunt Katwin had ordered Miri out of the workroom in exasperation,
      after Miri had reduced another beaker to fragments the size of gravel
      while trying to enchant a potion. *To keep me out of trouble,* Miri
      thought. *I'm not good for anything else.* She communed with plants
      and sensed their qualities, but that talent gave small consolation to
      a family who had hoped for another powerful mage like the rest of her
      mother's kin. At the age of sixteen, Miri still showed ineptitude in
      every other branch of spellcraft she'd tried. So once again she'd
      been banished to the woods to gather mushrooms for dinner, leaving
      Aunt Katwin in peace to pore over the latest rare codex she'd bought
      at auction.
      Dropping a red-spotted fungus into her basket, Miri rubbed the center
      of her back and listened. No more unnatural sounds. No rotten-fruit
      scent of evil sorcery -- but, then, she wasn't close enough to pick up
      such a taint. Her mother or brother might possess the required
      sensitivity. They were away from home, though, attending the Duke's
      court with her father.
      Miri brushed off the knees of her trousers and started back to the
      manor. She walked lightly, listening with ears and mage-sense for any
      hint of a threatening presence. Underbrush drew away from her
      footsteps to clear a path, a phenomenon so natural to her that she
      hardly noticed it anymore. Closer to the house, she tiptoed from tree
      to tree, clinging to their trunks as if they could protect her. Her
      skin began to tingle. Her forehead became clammy with nervous sweat.
      When the trees thinned, she paused to reconnoiter. Now she caught a
      whiff of the overripe-fruit aroma she associated with malignant magic.
      A hand pressed to the bark of a spindly pine brought her an image of
      what it had "seen" within the past hour: A column of men armed with
      bows and shortswords snaked through the forest toward the manor.
      Their blue livery looked familiar to Miri, but for the moment she
      couldn't place it.
      The crack of a twig banished the vision and snapped her back to the
      present. Not twenty paces away, a brown-bearded man dressed in that
      same blue tunic stood and gaped at her.
      -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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