Margaret L. Carter's News from the Crypt No. 61 (October 2010)
- Welcome to the October 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/
And please visit the website of the Infinite World of Fantasy Authors: http://www.iwofa.net/
Fictionwise.com sells quite a few of my e-books as well as my short stories from various anthologies, such as Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Sword and Sorceress" series. And search the Kindle store on Amazon.com for Kindle editions of numerous novels and stories by me.
Happy Halloween! This month I'm interviewing paranormal romance author Adrianne Brennan.
I'm one of the featured authors on Kate Hill's Halloween page:
Several of my novels and novellas have become available at All Romance E-Books:
The Jewels of the Quill anthology HALLOWEEN TREASURES is now available:
It includes my romantic Lovecraftian tale "Mistress of the Shadow Hounds." An excerpt of the opening scene appears below.
The Reader's Favorite site (http://readersfavorite.com) gives HALLOWEEN TREASURES 5 stars:
"Are you up for chills and thrills on Halloween night or any night of the week? Karen Wiesner's newest Jewels of the Quill anthology, HALLOWEEN TREASURES, is just what you'll want to read. The five short stories are sure to charm and bewitch you and have you looking over your shoulder."
Interview with Adrianne Brennan:
1. What inspired you to begin writing?
When I was ten, I had an assignment to write a short story illustrating scientific principles. I wound up writing a sci-fi comedy about sentient vegetables in outer space. It was read to my classmates who enjoyed it, and at that point I was beyond hooked: I not only found something I loved doing, but that other people enjoyed having me do. My first novel was written at aged 16, and my first book published at aged 29. :)
2. What genres do you write in?
Paranormal, science fiction, and fantasy. Mostly erotic romance, but I've also written erotica and sweet romance.. In addition, I've written what I refer to as "gender indiscriminate" romance where I write about men with men, like my m/m paranormal/sci-fi erotic romance Dawn of the Seraphs in the Immortal Fire anthology, or women with women, such as my f/f sweet romance about two pagan women who get married in My Big Fat Greek Pagan Lesbian Wedding, which is in the To Love and To Cherish anthology at Love You Divine.
3. How did you get into writing erotic romance?
By writing Vader pr0n.
No, really. I met fellow fanfic writers while writing Star Wars erotic romance, and one of them went and started her own publishing company. She encouraged me to submit an original work, and that became Blood of the Dark Moon. The company has since closed and the book has been republished with Freya's Bower. :)
4. Do you outline, "wing it," or something in between?
In between. I get an idea of where I want to start and where I want the characters and plot to wind up along with a few major events in between. The rest is up to the whims of my whimsical muse. :)
5. Please tell us about your vampires. Do they follow most of the classic tropes or have some unusual traits?
Most, but not all. Garlic, crosses, stakes--no effect. They can still burn up in sunlight in a fashion like the True Blood/Sookie Stackhouse vampires, but some have the ability to use magick as a temporary shield against the sunlight.
I often say that I do for vampires what Spiderman does for superheroes: they're vampires, but they still have their own shares of struggles, obstacles, and issues. Having magickal abilities doesn't lessen this one iota; in fact, it increases the amount of challenges they face.
The Dark Moon series has been a lot of fun to work on. I really enjoyed writing Blood of the Dark Moon and look forward to unleashing its sequel on the world! :D And if you enjoy that book, there are more books in the series which are spin-offs from the main plot. Blood and Mint Chocolates is one, and the two holiday shorts A Memory on Record and The Longest Night both take place shortly after Blood of the Dark Moon and Blood and Mint Chocolates respectively.
6. What is your latest or next-forthcoming book (or both)?
Catch the Touch of Blue, a paranormal romance forthcoming in the Dreams and Desires vol 4 anthology with Freya's Bower, and Love Under Will, an interracial paranormal erotic romance involving angels and fallen angels in the Mammoth Book of Hot Romance with Running Press.
7. What are you working on now?
Just to name a few: the Oath series books 4 and 5, Shadows of the Dark Moon, which is Blood of the Dark Moon's sequel, Pisces, a f/f sci-fi erotic romance in the Sapphic Signs line with Torquere Press, and Blood and Spice, the sequel to Blood and Mint Chocolates.
8. What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Any specific pointers for authors who want to write erotic fiction?
My advice is to write, and keep writing! Never give up and always strive to improve on the craft.
As for erotic fiction...best advice is to read erotic fiction, find what you enjoy most and why, and write in your own style. Be natural, make it hot...and if you can, make it advance the plot and/or provide further character development. Nothing tells your readers about your characters more than what turns them on!
9. What's your website URL? Do you have a blog?
http://www.adriannebrennan.com and I blog at http://adriannebrennan.blogspot.com
As far as when new releases are concerned, expect to see Pisces come next February, Love Under Will in the Mammoth Book of Hot Romance to come out next spring, and The Oath, Book 4: Anointed to be out before the end of this year.
I'm still hard at work on the other works in progress, but they've taken a bow to deadlines and other commitments. Rest assured...they will be out as soon as I can get back to them!
~ "Where love and magic meet" ~
Experience the magic of the Dark Moon series: http://www.adriannebrennan.com/books.html#darkmoon
Dare to take The Oath in this erotic fantasy series: http://www.adriannebrennan.com/books.html#the_oath
The future of psychic sex - Dawn of the Seraphs (m/m): http://www.adriannebrennan.com/dawnoftheseraphs.html
Some Books I've Been Reading:
ROMEO AND JULIET AND VAMPIRES, by Claudia Gabel. I've often thought ROMEO AND JULIET had vampiric possibilities, with Juliet lying "undead" in her crypt at the climax and, earlier, Romeo's anxiety to flee from her bedchamber before daybreak. ("I must be gone and live or stay and die.") Gabel adapts the play into a novel. I have no problem with that project, since Shakespeare derived his plot and characters from an English translation of an Italian narrative poem of a story that had already appeared in several previous versions. Gabel transfers the action from Verona to Transylvania, where vampire clans have gathered to escape human persecution and establish their dominance. The dynasty of Vlad the Impaler is currently represented by the more conciliatory Prince Radu, who has imposed a truce on the warring vampire and human factions. The Capulets are one of the leading families of vampire aristocrats, while the Montagues are notorious vampire-slayers. It is possible but illegal to change a human victim into a vampire. Every young vampire faces the onset of bloodlust and vampiric powers on his or her sixteenth birthday, a milestone looming over Juliet, who dreads the transition. If she doesn't drain a victim to death, she will die on that birthday. She hates her family's violence and longs for a better way of life. As in the play, Romeo yearns for Rosaline (here a cousin of Juliet's) until he sees Juliet herself and falls instantly in hopeless love with her. Gabel includes all the major scenes of Shakespeare's drama, altered as necessary to fit the vampire premise. I found the book a clever and entertaining, though far from profound, riff on the classic tale, which should appeal to fun-loving and romance-loving vampire fans.
WUTHERING BITES, by Sarah Gray. This novel is more similar to "mash-ups" such as PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES, in that Gray uses Bronte's original text, much of it word for word, with vampiric variations inserted. WUTHERING HEIGHTS is especially suited to this treatment, because it's practically a vampire story already. Heathcliff and Cathy metaphorically prey on each other, the neighbors suspect both of failing to rest easily in their graves, Cathy appears as a revenant after her death, and Nelly Dean once explicitly compares Heathcliff to a vampire. The mysterious, dark child brought home by Catherine Earnshaw's father turns out to be the offspring of a gypsy vampire slayer and a vampire. (Not a spoiler, because this information appears on the cover blurb, although the complete truth about Heathcliff's ancestry isn't revealed until late in the novel.) He grows up to slay vampires, yet he also seems to have a strange affinity with and control over them. Gray preserves the entire structure of the novel, with outsider Lockwood, a tenant at Thrushcross Grange, hearing the story of Heathcliff and Cathy from housekeeper Nelly. The vampiric content is well integrated. The only defect, in my opinion, is that some apparent attempts at humor are unfunny and jarring. For the most part, though, the brooding atmosphere of the original is maintained, and half-vampire parentage works well as an explanation for Heathcliff's nearly diabolical personality. If you're a devoted fan of the original, as I am, you'll want to read this adaptation. For vampire fans who haven't read WUTHERING HEIGHTS and will therefore be surprised by the tragic plot developments and twisted character relationships, WUTHERING BITES should be a toothsome treat.
THE WHITE CAT, by Holly Black. In an alternate-present analog of our world, "curse workers" wield powerful magic, which ranges from charming people, striking them dead, or changing memories to the rarest, possibly apocryphal power, transforming physical objects and living creatures. Because these powers operate through touch, everyone wears gloves in public. Because curse working is illegal, its use has come to dominate organized crime, so that ordinary people are even more frightened of it than they would normally be. The teenage narrator, Cassel Sharpe, the one nonmagical son in a family of workers, wakes up on the roof of his boarding school. Alarmed at his sleepwalking, the school suspends him until he can supply a doctor's guarantee that he won't sleepwalk again. Since the boy has no apparent magical talent, his mother (now in prison for her misuse of curse working) has groomed him as an expert con artist, who runs a betting pool out of his dorm room, so he doesn't want to get expelled. With his mother in jail, Cassel is given into the care of his grandfather, while plotting how to con his way back into school. His grandfather drafts him to help clear out the cluttered, filthy house of his parents, where family secrets gradually come to light. A fragmentary memory of having killed his childhood girlfriend, the daughter of a curse-working mob boss, haunts Cassel. He trusts no one in his family and takes a skeptical view of the possibility of friendship. He learns his distrust is mostly justified, since one of his brothers has altered his memories. Cassel isn't a very nice person, a manipulator with a cynical outlook on life. Yet the author keeps us so deeply immersed in his emotions and problems that we can't help sympathizing with him as he uncovers the truths about himself and his past that have been stolen from him. Why does the white cat lurk in his dreams before he meets her in real life? Will he find anything to disprove his philosophy that "if something looks too good to be true, it's a con"? This novel is Book One of the Curse Workers series. I'll be looking forward to more of Cassel and his world.
Excerpt from "Mistress of the Shadow Hounds":
The encroaching presence crept over her like a cold draft. Enid rubbed her eyes to clear the fog in her head left over from the dreamthe familiar, loathsome dream of a vast sunken city where tentacled creatures with huge, multi-lobed eyes swarmed through the murky depths.
She tried to convince herself some noise had awakened her, but she knew she would have sensed an intruder even in complete silence. A glance at the clock showed she'd slept little more than an hour, just long enough to sink into the nightmare. She threw off the covers, shrugged into the terrycloth robe she'd left draped over a chair, and picked up the handset of the cordless phone on her nightstand. She tiptoed to the bedroom door, avoiding the boards that creaked. Once she stepped off the braided rug, the hardwood felt chilly on her bare feet.
In the three months since her uncle's death, she'd grown used to sleeping alone in the rambling, late-Victorian house. Although the death of a man in his seventies with a chronic heart problem and a lifelong smoking habit hadn't come as a surprise, the loss had still meant drastic adjustments. She prided herself on how she was coping. She didn't consider herself a timid female. Yet now she wished Uncle Evan were here. Even an elderly scholar as back-up would be preferable to facing a burglar alone.
Was the trespasser actually in the house or just prowling around the yard? She'd look like an idiot if she called for help only to have him disappear just as a police car drove up. Wanting to pinpoint his exact location before making the call, she tiptoed downstairs. In the front hall, she saw light from the desk lamp in her uncle's office spilling into the corridor. Hadn't she turned that off before going to bed?
Checking the front door, she found it still locked. A second later, she heard somebody in the office opening drawers and flinging objects around. She punched 911 on the phone. When the operator answered, Enid whispered her name and address. "There's an intruder in the house. I'm in the hall outside the room he's in." The operator told her to keep the line open.
Enid flattened herself against a wall of the entryway and started to inch back toward the stairs with the phone clutched in one hand. The pulse pounded in her temples, and her skin felt clammy.
Her silent prayer that the burglar hadn't heard her over his own racket went unanswered. A voice muttered what sounded like a curse, and a man charged out of the office. At a glance, she grasped only an impression of a thin build, scruffy brown hair, and a short beard. He held a leather-bound book in one of his black-gloved hands.
"Where is it?" he yelled. "The Shadow Hound talismanhand it over!" His desperation hit her like a slap in the face.
"I don't know what you're talking about," she shot back. A sour taste of fear welled up in her throat.
With his free hand, he grabbed her by the shoulder. "Don't give me that crap. You worked with the professor. You've got to know." He shook her, making her drop the phone. Now that she got more than a glimpse of his face, she thought he looked familiar. Had he known her uncle? How else could he be aware of their working arrangements?
"I helped around the office. I wasn't his research assistant." That would be Greg, who probably knew all about what her late uncle, Professor Evan Armitage, had been working on. Very little of it got shared with her. When the man just scowled and tightened his grip, she added, "I tell you, you're wasting your time. I don't have a clue what `Shadow Hound' means."
"Liar. You're part of the family. You have to know." He gave her shoulder a painful squeeze.
The clutch of the man's fingers infuriated her. Scalding anger erupted from the pit of her stomach. From a heap of books she glimpsed on the office floor, an encyclopedia volume launched itself at the intruder and slammed into the middle of his back.
He let go of her and whirled around. "What the hell?"
The hair bristled at the nape of her neck. Her skin prickled with static electricity. A vase rose from a small table in the foyer and floated toward him. It crashed into his head and shattered. With a yell that caused his panic to sweep over her like a gust of wind, he sprinted for the front door. That day's mail, which Enid had dumped on the table when she'd come home in the afternoon, flew at him and flapped in his face like a maddened flock of birds. Screaming, he tried to bat away the barrage of paper but didn't drop the book he'd snatched.
At that moment, the door burst open, and another man rushed in. At the sight of his familiar curly, black hair and tanned complexion, Enid didn't know whether to feel relieved or further alarmed to see her uncle's assistant. "Greg? What on earth are you doing here?" He'd never come to the house in her uncle's absence, except for the reception after the funeral, and not once since then.
Without answering, Greg waved one hand. An azure bolt of energy crackled around the table, which levitated and attacked the intruder. It collided with the strange man's legs. Cursing, he fell down but scrambled to his feet just as quickly. Greg made a grab for him.
Staring as if stunned, the intruder opened his mouth to speak. At another gesture from Greg, a magazine from the pile of mail lofted into the air and slapped the stranger in the face. He wrestled out of Greg's grip, ducked under his reach, and dodged around him to trip Enid. She hit the floor with a bone-jarring thump to her knees and right elbow. Again the man dashed for the exit. This time he made his escape.
-end of excerpt-
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"Beast" wishes until next time
Margaret L. Carter