Welcome to the January 2010 issue of 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:
Also, check out the multi-author Alien Romance Blog: http://www.aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/
I hope everybody had a great holiday season. Happy New Year to all!
My short fantasy "Beast Lord's Captive," recently published in the online magazine SORCEROUS SIGNALS, is now available in their print zine, MYSTIC SIGNALS, Issue 4, which you can find here:
It's also sold on Amazon.com.
Ellora's Cave has just released my kitsune erotic romance, "Foxfire," part of the TRANSFORMATIONS anthology, as a stand-alone e-book. Tabitha, who has retreated to an isolated home in the Virginia mountains because of her psychic sensitivity to other people's emotions, discovers that her equally reclusive neighbor, Kenji, has a paranormal secret, too. There's an excerpt below.
This month we have an interview with versatile romance author Mary Winter:
Interview with Mary Winter:
1. What inspired you to begin writing?
I grew up in a family of readers and have always told myself stories. It
seemed natural to start to write them down, especially once I got old enough
to realize that people did this for a living. It made answering the "what
are you going to do when you grow up?" questions easy to answer.
2. What genres do you write in?
I actually write in a variety of genres. I, of course, write erotic romance,
but I also like to pen sweet pagan inspirational romance. I write fantasy,
not so much science fiction, and I love to write nonfiction articles dealing
with metaphysical and spiritual topics.
3. Do you outline, "wing it," or something in between?
I am the poster child for plotting. I learned the "snowflake" method a few
years ago, where you start with a one sentence idea for your book and expand
it, so by the time I'm done I have a full plot, character sheets, and know
exactly where I'm going. Of course, the characters sometimes have their own
ideas, but we usually work it out in the end.
4. You have books from a number of different publishers. How do you
balance your work for various markets? What are the advantages of writing
for more than one publisher?
Well, I'm actually scaling back quite a bit with the writing as my focus
changes, but really, it's a matter of knowing what I can do and having a
plan. I think it's very important for authors to write for multiple
publishers. Each publisher has its own niche audience that an author may not
reach otherwise. Plus, if an author is prolific (2008 had me releasing a
novel or novella a month and sometimes two! I don't recommend that, LOL!) it
helps to have multiple homes so one publisher doesn't get overwhelmed or
booked out too far. Additionally, I know I've learned something new from the
business from each of my publishers, and I think writing for multiple
publishers allows an author to really grow in the business.
5. What is your latest or next-forthcoming book (or both)?
In January the sequel to TWO IN HAND will be out. It's called TWO POINT
PROPOSITION and tells the story of Katie's friend Sydney and the two men in
her life. I will also have a pagan inspirational romance coming out under
another name, and hope to also re-release my Animal Reiki book, which was
out at the now-defunct The Lotus Circle, also under that same name.
6. What are you working on now?
I'm still determining what's next up on my "to do" list; I'm in-between
projects and working on revisions at the moment. But the next StarMyst book
is near the top of the list.
7. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Keep writing. And learn all you can. It's not enough to just write and sell
the stories to the publishers, authors today need to be marketers too.
Interact with the loops-talk to readers-don't just spam them about your
latest release. The more readers and fellow authors get to know you, the
more often your name will come up when they're looking for their next books
to read or promote. Be personable, but not too personal, and most of all,
never stop learning. If your craft isn't improving with each book, then it's
time to have a heart-to-heart with your editor, or your critique group.
8. What's your website URL? Do you have a blog, and where can we find it?
My website is http://www.marywinter.com
and my blog is located there. I
don't blog as often as I do, but occasionally I'll post something. I do have
a chat loop at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/marywinterchat
newsletter is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/marywinternews
Thanks for the opportunity to be interviewed.
Explore Seasons of Passion with novels by Mary Winter
OCT RELEASE: Southern Rose (a historical lesbian erotic romance)
Some Books I've Been Reading:
THE WOLF IN THE PARLOR, by Jon Franklin. Franklin, a science journalist, explores the relationship between people and dogs, speculating on when, why, and how dogs developed from wolves. The author knew little about dogs until his future wife insisted on getting a standard poodle puppy, whom they named Charlie (after the John Steinbeck book). Franklin became intrigued by canine evolution and, upon investigating, was surprised to learn how little research had been published on the topic. This book interweaves incidents from his life with Charlie and the evidence and theories he uncovered about wolves, dogs, and early Homo sapiens. He comes to the conclusion that the human and canine species form a symbiotic unit. At about the same time people apparently began living with dogs, both the human and the canine brains decreased in sizeyet, oddly, human intelligence seemed to increase rather than decline. To Franklin, the dog embodies the instinctive, emotional dimension of the human mind. Although the author waxes philosophical to a degree that sometimes (for me) verges on tedious and pretentious, on the whole I found the book absorbing and would recommend it to any dog-loving reader.
WAR FOR THE OAKS, by Emma Bull. After hearing the author speak on panels as guest of honor at the 2009 Darkover convention, I decided it was time to read this book I've been hearing about for many years. WAR FOR THE OAKS has a similar premise to one of my favorite Mercedes Lackey novels, KNIGHT OF GHOSTS AND SHADOWS: A human musician gets entangled in the conflicts of the faery realm and ultimately becomes a champion of the Seelie Court. The title of Bull's novel sounds as if it has a sylvan setting, but in fact it's very urban, set in Minneapolis. It conveys a strong sense of place, describing many locations that are clearly reality-based. The writing style is a pleasure to read and makes the protagonist's life highly concrete and believable in the midst of her extraordinary adventure. The Seelie Court (the "good" fae, speaking loosely) chooses female rock musician Eddi McCandry as the mortal essential to making their upcoming battles with their Unseelie counterparts real, so to speak. Without a mortal participant, such fights cannot result in any genuine injury or death. When a phouka, sometimes man and sometimes dog, approaches Eddi, she has no real option whether or not to cooperate. She's already marked as the faery Queen's choice, so that even if she rejects the roleand the phouka's protectionshe will remain in danger from the forces of the Queen of Air and Darkness. The phouka becomes her bodyguard, a constant and annoying companion with riddling speech and tricksy charm. Having just left her old band and decisively broken with her former lover, Eddi forms a new band consisting of her best friend Carla, another human musician named Dan, and two other members whom she later learns to be fae. The phouka gradually becomes less annoying and more charming as his relationship with Eddi becomes more honest and the danger escalates. In keeping with folklore, the Seelie fae are almost as perilous as the Unseelie, operating by their own rules. Eddi's grudging participation transforms to an active role in the conflict. The band performance scenes are described with dazzling imagery that make them comprehensible to me even though I'm totally non-musical. This novel thoroughly deserves its reputation as a modern classic.
THE STRAIN, by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Best "vampirism as disease" novel I've read in a long time. You won't find any glamorous, seductive vampires here. Most of the undead, in fact, appear to be as mindless as movie zombies. An airliner lands in New York with everybody on board apparently dead of an unknown cause, although it later turns out that four have survived (but not unscathed). The account of the airplane's arrival and the gradual build-up toward opening and boarding the plane produce finely crafted suspense. Despite the authorities' efforts to quarantine the survivors, naturally the infection escapes into the population, not least because the people in charge don't realize it IS an infection until too late. There are many viewpoint characters but with the central focus on two: Ephraim, a doctor with a special unit of the CDC, and an elderly retired professor who first encountered the master vampire in a concentration camp and has been preparing to fight the monster ever since. The parasite that infects the victims transforms their internal organs and metabolism, as well as causing the growth of new structures, mainly an elongated blood-drawing stinger that protrudes from under the tongue. The undead become shambling grotesques who prefer to take shelter buried in dirt when they aren't hunting for prey. The suspense never lets up yet still leaves room for dialogue, characterization, and some explanation of the disease process. I would, however, have liked a lot more discussion of the vampires' biology, the main aspect of the story that interests me. Ephraim has to go on the run because his superiors think he's losing his mind. With the help of the old professor-turned-hunter, he manages to track down the Master. No decisive victory occurs; at least one sequel is forthcoming.
Excerpt from "Foxfire":
Kenji unfolded his crossed legs and stood up. "Now I want to show you something. I promised you something impossible. It runs in my family, the way empathy does in yours."
"You have a deep, dark secret too?"
He nodded, quietly serious, with trepidation leaking through his calm facade. Tabitha followed him across the room.
Two doors led from the living room into the back half of the house. One, she knew from previous visits, opened into the hall that connected with the kitchen, bedroom and workshop. He headed for the other exit, which led to the corridor that ended in the bathroom. Two closed doors occupied the wall to the right of the bathroom.
"This is just the linen closet," he said, indicating the one on the left. "But this
*Good grief, what does he keep in there, a bunch of dead wives like Bluebeard?* She could almost hear his heart hammering with nervousness.
Kenji hesitated with his hand on the doorknob. "I've never shown this to anyone before. I'm trusting you to keep it to yourself."
"Good," he said with a sudden grin, "because this is definitely something nobody would believe."
"Like that ball of fire you chased Shawn with?"
"Stranger than that." He opened the door and turned a dial just inside. A diffuse light came on. He raised the level to a gentle glow, too dim to read by but enough to banish the darkness. Other than noticing the room had no windows, Tabitha didn't waste time looking for the source of the illumination. She was too stunned by what the light revealed.
She stood on the threshold of a square space that looked larger than all the other parts of the house combined. At least, it appeared square from what she could see of the walls, camouflaged by potted shrubs, flowers and dwarf trees. She saw peonies, purple irises and other blooms she didn't recognize. A blossomy fragrance permeated the cool air. Just inside the door, a pond sparkled with the silver of lazily swimming fish. A miniature waterfall cascaded over shiny pebbles into the pond. Lily pads floated on the surface. A stone lantern about two feet high stood next to it.
Her eyes tracked the pathsdarker wood inlaid amid the golden hardwoodthat wound among the shrubbery. Against one wall she noticed a hibachi with a black lacquer cabinet beside it. A high screen painted with drooping willow trees hid one corner. In the opposite corner the path led to a sunken whirlpool tub, bordered with marble. Cushions in assorted sizes covered the floor nearby.
She'd unconsciously taken a couple of steps into the room, she realized when she heard Kenji shut the door behind her. In the silence, softened only by the waterfall's ripple, she heard him hold his breath, his mind taut with anticipation.
Finally he whispered, "Well?"
She whispered back, half afraid the place would pop like a bubble if she spoke too loudly. "You're right, this is impossible."
"I told you," he said in a more normal tone, "six impossible things before breakfast." He waved a hand. A flame leaped up in the stone lantern. Another wave, and a fireball floated to the ceiling. He dialed the electric light back to its dimmest setting.
"No, I mean *really* impossible." Her lungs felt as constricted as if she'd hiked to the top of a mountain. "The house doesn't have nearly enough space to hold this room. This should be a closet."
"For anybody else, it would be a combination broom closet and half bath. Only I can open the door and find this space. I and anybody I've escorted here. Which means only you."
Her next breath turned into a gasp. She drew a deeper one and said, "Why would you trust me that much?"
"I want to know you better. That can't happen if I keep hiding everything about myself. You saw the fireball, so you're bound to have questions. This seemed like the next step. Anyway, you trusted me with your secret." With a hand on her shoulder, he guided her to the cushions and lowered her to a seat like a courtier settling a princess on a throne.
"Yeah, but this is a whole different order of strangeness. How?"
He shrugged. "Call it magic if you want. A talent I inherited from my mother."
"Okay, this makes two impossible things so far."
"No, three, counting your emotion-reading power."
"So what are the other three?"
A shadow flitted across his face. "Let's hold off on them for now, okay?"
-end of excerpt-
Two fiction-related newsletters you might enjoy:
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Moonlight Fantasy, devoted to erotic romance:
Amber Quill Press: www.amberquill.com
Cerridwen Press: www.cerridwenpress.com
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