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Margaret L. Carter's News from the Crypt No. 69 (June 2011)

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  • margvamp
    Welcome to the June 2011 issue of my newsletter, “News from the Crypt,” and please visit Carter s Crypt (www.margaretlcarter.com), devoted to my
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2011
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      Welcome to the June 2011 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:
      www.simegen.com/reviews/vampires/vamprelm.htm

      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.

      All Romance E-Books has "Blood Hostage," my new erotic vampire romance novel, for sale on their site:

      http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-bloodhostage-549455-139.html

      Below is another excerpt from "Blood Hostage," in which vampire-hunter Hal prepares to explain to vampire Monique why he has captured her.

      This time I'm interviewing radio host and inspirational romance author Regina Andrews.

      *****

      Interview with Regina Andrews:


      1. What inspired you to begin writing?
      When I was little (I was the baby of the family) my mother and I had special story time together every afternoon. It was then that I began to look forward to stories. When I began school, I would walk around talking constantly, telling stories that I was sure everyone was as enthralled with as I was…well, let’s just say my first grade teacher re-directed that energy with a pencil and paper and I was on my way.
       
      2. What genres do you write in?
      Mostly I write Inspirational Romances, which, I think, is an outgrowth of my wonderful childhood and background.  In that context, we always found a ‘happy ending’ together as a family unit with a heart filled with faith.
       
      Perhaps the most wonderful aspect of being an “IW” is that you never know where the path will take you â€" as a writer or as someone who, as a writer, might have brightened someone else’s world. We might never know, but wow, how fabulous is that to contemplate? ;-)   For so long, I have always wanted to be able to share a mission of God's love through writing uplifting, inspiring books in His honor. Now, I have that chance. I am very grateful for the doors that have opened for me.

      3. Do you outline, "wing it," or something in between?
      Most definitely, I outline to get a good, working, chapter-by-chapter synopsis that gives me the overall picture of where the book is going. Then I start writing and let the characters take me where they want to go. I make about five copies of the synopsis and carry it around with me all the time.

      4. What is your latest or next-forthcoming book (or both)?
      Currently, I am very excited to be working on The Sterling Lakes Series. I can't begin to describe how wonderful it is. The first book, "Light of the Heart", was released in March. The second book, "Angels of the Heart" will release in August. The premise of the Sterling Lakes Series is how the renovation of the church in town leads to a rebirth of the entire town itself on many levels â€" physically, emotionally and spiritually, to name a few.

      5. What are you working on now?
      Right now I am writing the third book of the Sterling Lakes Series, "Praises of the Heart" which will be out in 2012.

      6. Do you have some favorite authors, books, or films that inspire you?
      I love the movies so much! I'm always looking for the ones with happy endings, though :-) That being said, 'Sound of Music', over and over. Guess I love the drama, too, though, because I LOVE 'West Side Story'. My third choice would have to be 'It's a Wonderful Life', I really can't believe how fantastic that one is. But let's not forget our French friends - 'King of Hearts' was a masterpiece, and out Italian friends with 'Cinema Paradisio'.

      7. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
      I would have to say be patient, be true to you and don't ever, ever give up. Also be the writer you are, not the writer "they" - meaning anyone - wants you to be. Read a lot and keep learning, good writing is very technical. Naturally, practice, practice, practice  :-) Most of all, have fun.


      8. What's your website URL? Do you have a blog? Where else can we find you on the Internet?
      Thank you for asking, Margaret. My website is www.reginaandrews.com. My blog is located at  http://reginaandrews.wordpress.com/.
       
      And here are the links to my publishers:
       

      “In Good Faith”, Awe-Struck: http://bit.ly/kfCChu
       
      “The Perfect Proposal”, Treble Hearts:  http://bit.ly/lAPP21
       
      “Light of the Heart”, Desert Breeze Publishing:   http://bit.ly/gQ9czn

      “Spotlight on Love”, Desert Breeze Publishing:  http://bit.ly/kI5dkX
       
      “Destiny’s Designs”, Desert Breeze Publishing:  http://bit.ly/l0lH2Z
       
      Thank you so much for chatting with me, Margaret. Have a wonderful summer. J


      *****

      Some Books I've Been Reading:

      OTHER KINGDOMS, by Richard Matheson. Since Matheson was one of the classic pulp authors who shaped my concept of what horror fiction should be, I was glad to learn he'd published a new book with supernatural elements. OTHER KINGDOMS has the structure of an extended memoir by Alexander White, an octogenarian looking back at the experiences of his late teens in World War I and immediately thereafter. Alex has had a long, prolific career as a writer of horror novels under the name "Arthur Black." His narrative voice, highly conscious of the use of language and full of self-deprecating references to his authorial alter ego, enhances the story beyond the simple enchantment of its plot. Estranged from his rigid, cruel father, an American naval officer, Alex joins the army at eighteen and faces the nightmarish realities of trench warfare. In France he becomes friendly with a British soldier, Harold Lightfoot, who sings the praises of his home village, Gatford. After Harold dies and mysteriously bequeaths Alex a lump of gold, Alex is wounded and discharged. Having no reason to go home, he succumbs to the impulse to visit Gatford. At first it appears as "gorgeous" as Harold always claimed, but on second glance, Alex feels conflicting impressions. Having rented a cottage, he soon learns not to stray from the path in the woods, for fear of the "little people." Several other-worldly and frightening encounters convert him to reluctant belief in the faeries. He even meets one, a beautiful girl half the size of a human woman. Soon after, he becomes ensnared by Magda, a seductive older woman he has been warned against as a "witch." To Alex's surprise, though not the reader's, when he becomes her lover he realizes she actually does practice witchcraft. Both Magda and the faery woman, Ruthana, warn him against each other. While he's with each one, she seems completely loving and sincere. He can't tell which woman to trust, and both enthrall him. After all, as he frequently reminds us from the perspective of old age, he was only eighteen at this time. A vicious attack and rape by a horrific hag bring his dilemma to a crisis. Which of his two lovers, if either, was responsible? Up to this point, I found the book's magical setting, supernatural mystery, and moments of numinous terror fascinating. I have to admit, though, I felt a bit let down by the later part of the story. Ruthana never came fully alive as a character for me, and I didn't feel the depth of passion between her and Alex that the narrator apparently wants us to feel. The elegiac conclusion of the book, however, satisfyingly reprises the introduction's sense of gazing into the depths of the past over the span of a long life.

      THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES, by Jean M. Auel. If you're a fan of CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR and the stories that followed it, naturally you have to read this final book in the series. (Readers unfamiliar with previous installments would be lost.) Like its immediate predecessor, SHELTERS OF STONE, the concluding novel is a bit short on plot despite its 757-page length, although I think LAND OF PAINTED CAVES is definitely stronger than the former book. Ayla, settled in with the people of her mate, Jondalar, is studying to become a Zelandoni (spiritual leader and healer). She has to balance this role with the care of her daughter, Jonayla, a baby in the first part of the book, four and six years old in later sections. Ayla and Jondalar are still passionately in love, and they still have three horses and a wolf as companions, to the astonishment of everyone they meet. Ayla's varied life experiences and ordeals have uniquely equipped her to serve as a Zelandoni. By this point, she reminds me of a reviewer's comment on the characters in Robert Heinlein's late works, who have no problems, only transitory difficulties. The story meanders along from one easily overcome obstacle to another, its strength lying much more in the descriptions of the lifestyles, foods, medicines, and crafts of the Stone Age people. As always, the breathtaking scope and depth of Auel's research is obvious. Ayla avoids Mary Sue status by the fact that she's always surprised when people view her with awe. She doesn't consider herself extraordinary and, in the book's concluding episode, is painfully aware of her flaws and mistakes. A focused conflict finally gets going in about the last 100 pages, as Ayla faces the harrowing rite of passage of her "call" as a Zelandoni and then endures a heart-wrenching rift with Jondalar. This novel pulls together the themes of the series, including an echo, in transmuted form, of a scene from the first book. An excess of repetition here and there gives some sections a "tell" rather than "show" feeling, but overall I enjoyed this series finale and found it satisfying.

      THE BIG MEOW, by Diane Duane. This is the third novel in Duane's "Feline Wizardry" series, a spinoff from her long-running "Young Wizards" series (which began with SO YOU WANT TO BE A WIZARD). THE BIG MEOW can be read only on the web, directly from the author, and you can find it here for free:
      http://www.the-big-meow.com/
      You can, however, pay for the novel by subscription or donate to its supported charity. In Duane's universe, wizards serve Life in opposition to the Lone Power, the Evil One that brought death into the world. Feline wizards, of course, revere the Powers in cat form; they see the Lone Power as the rebellious sister of the Queen. Cats have the particular responsibility for maintaining Worldgates (teleportation portals). In THE BIG MEOW, the Los Angeles Gate begins acting strangely. Rhiow, the protagonist, the "pet" of a recently widowed human male, gets a call for help from Hwaith, a traveler on a special mission from the past. The present-day troubles are tied to Gate problems in his time. To prevent cosmic disaster, Rhiow and her team go back with him to 1946 Hollywood, where the local Gate in that time also seems to be malfunctioning. With them goes a human wizard, Helen Walks Softly, so we get both feline and human perspectives on the differences between the nineteen-forties and the early twenty-first century. The time travelers meet, among other Hollywood personalities, author Damon Runyon in the last year of his life. The cats call him the Silent Man because an operation for throat cancer has left him unable to speak. The wizards discover a cult bent on inviting into our world from "Outside" something even worse than the Lone Power. I was delighted by the combination of Duane's wizardry with Lovecraftian themes, as well as the setting and lively character interaction. Runyon's dry wit and open-mindedness toward both magic and the few wonders of the future he's allowed to glimpse make his scenes a special pleasure to read. If you're a fan of Duane's work, don't miss this treat.

      TEETH, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. Until you notice the subtitle, "Vampire Tales," you wouldn't know from the title that this is an anthology of all new YA vampire stories (plus two poems). "Teeth" could also refer to werewolves, sharks, or any number of other fanged creatures. The stories, however, are excellent, by authors such as Suzy McKee Charnas, Tanith Lee, Holly Black, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, and other well-known names. You'll find very little romance in this volume, but an exciting variety of innovative approaches to vampires. To mention just a few: Charnas's "Late Bloomer" offers a fresh look at the theme that becoming a vampire destroys creativity; to compensate, her vampires become obsessive collectors. In both "Gap Year" by Christopher Barzak and "In the Future When All's Well" by Catherynne M. Valente, the teenage protagonists cope with a world in which vampires have gone public, but the two authors take very different approaches to the nature of vampirism. A girl cherishes a grotesque "doll" as a secret familiar in "Baby" by Kathe Koja. Delia Sherman's "Flying" presents a variation on the "vampire circus" trope. In "Sunbleached" by Nathan Ballingrud, a boy unhappy with his single mother's lifestyle tries to make a deal with a vampire hiding in the crawl space under his house. And "The Perfect Dinner Party" is one of the most creepy child vampire tales I've ever read. As vampire anthologies go, TEETH contains a remarkably high proportion of outstanding stories.

      *****

      Excerpt from "Blood Hostage":

      “Your family experiments on us like lab rats?” A crimson mist gathered in front of her eyes. She choked down the surge of fury. As he’d pointed out, attacking him would get her nowhere as long as he had her shackled. “And you think you’re better than we are? You think you have the right to execute us at will?”

      “Like I said, I don’t have any intention of executing you. As far as I know, you don’t kill your human prey.”

      “Then what do you want with me? Am I your next guinea pig?” If that was his plan, she’d rather tear him limb from limb and lurk here until a chance of escape came along. If he disappeared, somebody would show up to check on him eventually.

      “No, you’re my hostage.”

      “What?” Clearly the man had lost touch with reality after all.

      “Conan MacEwan has my cousin. I intend to offer your life in trade for his.”

      She didn’t know whether to scream or laugh. “Then go ahead and kill me. You’re completely wasting your time here.”

      He frowned, his aura darkening with annoyance. “No, you’re wasting time, trying to give me the run-around again. I saw you at MacEwan’s house three nights ago.”

      She had to blink a red fog from her vision and draw a deep breath to steady her voice. “You’ve been stalking me?”

      “What do you expect? I hunt vampires. I discovered one teaching on the same campus where I work, living in my town. Of course I’ve been keeping an eye on you.”

      “Well, much as I hate to cast aspersions on your detective skills, you’ve jumped to the wrong conclusion. I can’t stand Conan MacEwan, and the feeling’s mutual. He wouldn’t walk across the room to save my life, much less give up a victim.”

      “Then why were you visiting him?”

      “None of your damn business, hunter.” She drew another calming breath that tickled her nose with the enticement of his earthy aroma. His heartbeat hammered in her ears. Sliding closer to him, she trailed her fingertips along his bare forearm. “Why don’t you drop the whole idea and let me go? I won’t hold this idiocy against you.” She lingered at the pulse point on his wrist. The rapid beat stuttered at her touch. “You weren’t thinking about violence when you invited me here last night, were you? I know you want me. No use lying about it.”

      She saw his throat convulse as he swallowed. “That’s beside the point. I can guess what you were thinking. You came here to drink my blood. And you’re surprised I locked you up?”

      She laughed. “As payback, wasn’t that a bit of overkill? It wouldn’t have hurt. You would have enjoyed it as much as I would.” She skimmed her fingernails over the side of his neck.

      Grabbing her wrist, he snapped, “Stop that.” He pulled her hand down to the mattress but didn’t let go of it. “How did you expect to manage that, when you can’t cloud my mind?”

      “You’d never have noticed a quick nip in the middle ofâ€"everything. The thrill would have drowned out the little sting.” Leaning forward, she offered a glimpse of braless cleavage above the V of her blouse. Though she knew most human males preferred more ample breasts than hers, Hal seemed to appreciate her compact curves. Sure enough, his breathing quickened along with his pulse. “By the time I left your bed, the bleeding would have long since stopped.” Not that she’d planned on full consummation. Her seductions always ended with a climax for the victim that didn’t require her to bare her body for him. Her throat burned at the fantasy of bringing Hal to ecstasy with her touch and tasting his life essence at the instant of his release. At this point in her cycle, she needed that fulfillment more urgently than usual. That was why she’d accepted his invitationâ€"or, rather, stepped into his trap.

      -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 timeâ€"
      Margaret L. Carter
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