Archive for March, 2020

Welcome to the March 2020 issue of my newsletter, “News from the Crypt,” and please visit Carter’s Crypt, 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:
Realm of the Vampires

Also, check out the multi-author Alien Romances Blog

The long-time distributor of THE VAMPIRE’S CRYPT has closed its website. If you would like to read any issue of this fanzine, which contains fiction, interviews, and a detailed book review column, e-mail me to request the desired issue, and I’ll send you a free PDF of it. My e-mail address is at the end of this newsletter. Find information about the contents of each issue on this page of my website:

Vampire’s Crypt

A complete list of my available works, arranged roughly by genre, with purchase links (gradually being updated as the Amber Quill and Ellora’s Cave works are being republished):

Complete Works

For anyone who would like to read previous issues of this newsletter, now that the Yahoo group is useless for that purpose, they’re posted on my website here (starting from January 2018):


This is my Facebook author page. Please visit!

Here’s my page in Barnes and Noble’s Nook store. These items include some of the short stories that used to be on Fictionwise:
Barnes and Noble

Go here and scroll down to “Available Short Fiction” for a list of those stories with their Amazon links:
Kindle Works

Here’s the list of my Kindle books on Amazon. (The final page, however, includes some Ellora’s Cave anthologies in which I don’t have stories):
Carter Kindle Books

Here’s a shortcut URL to my author page on Amazon:

My Goodreads page:

I forgot to mention last month that my 2020 annual vampire fiction bibliography update is available. Each year’s issue compiles titles of novels and stories from the previous calendar year, plus some older ones I might have missed in earlier years. Please e-mail me if you’d like a copy of the file:

One of my publishers, the Wild Rose Press, has released three anthologies to raise funds for victims of the fires in Australia. Here’s the publisher’s link for AUSTRALIA BURNS, Volume One. It can also be purchased in Kindle format from Amazon. Please consider buying one or more of these volumes:

Australia Burns

My story “Werewolf Watch” appears in NIGHT TO DAWN 37. Vampire psychiatrist Roger Darvell and his partner, Dr. Britt Loren, counsel a werewolf who fears he has been involuntarily transforming and rampaging by night. An excerpt appears below. You can find this vampire and horror zine here:

Night to Dawn

This month I’m featuring a follow-up interview with multi-genre, award-winning author Karen Wiesner to get an update on her latest projects and releases.


Interview with Karen Wiesner:

Karen Wiesner
Blurb Service
Writers Exchange Book Page

Please tell us about your science fiction series currently in progress.

I write in nearly every genre of fiction you can imagine, along with nonfiction and writing reference, children’s books and poetry. Science fiction horror is my favorite genre to read. I’m the biggest fan of the Alien movie franchise, and that’s not being done as often as I’d like to see in fiction, whether in books or movies. I’ve always wanted to write a story that combined those two genres. I’ve written horror but never science fiction before.

The premise I started Arrow of Time Chronicles with was a sci-fi story set not too far in the future when mankind has finally begun traveling the stars, mainly in desperate and dire need of finding new homes for displaced Earthers. What if Humans built habitations for their people in orbit of a planet that’s in a nuclear winter, initially believing there are no survivors? What if they found out in the process of building these new homes that there are survivors? And what if there are others originally from the planet (who achieved space travel before the war that destroyed their planet) who return to find Humans “squatting” in orbit of their homeworld–a blatant claim of ownership…and the grounds for war? That catalyst is what led me to writing this series, but another thing that compelled me was the idea of having alien cultures spread across the galaxy that, genetically, are so similar, it begs a billion scientific, cosmological, and theological questions. The horror angle I wanted to develop in this series turned mild with phantom energy, an unconscious force of dark energy, dominating and “expanding” the universe.

Because I don’t have anything like a science background, I didn’t want to “invent the wheel” when it came to science fiction standard operating procedures (like folding space and time with wormholes and space corridors and faster-than-light travel and communication, orbital habitations, dark energy, and even what forced Humans to leave Earth to begin looking for homes in space, which was Global Warming). So I used scientific speculations that are already being talked about these days to provide the train tracks to get this story rolling. In other words, I didn’t want any of those things to be the focus of this series. I wanted to set them down as SOP and then unfold the story I wanted to tell over the course of four volumes.

Of note concerning the people populating this series, one of the main characters–Astoria “Tori” Bertoletti–is a descendant of my original Clumsy Girl Zoë Rossdale and her husband Curt Bertoletti, who were in my Family and Friendship Heirlooms series’. Specifically, Zoë and Curt were the main characters in Clumsy Girl’s Guide to Falling in Love, Book 1, and Clumsy Girl’s Guide to Having a Baby, Book 6: Friendship Heirlooms Series (though also featured in many other books in these two series’).

While I believe this series is unlike any other science fiction one out there (no comparisons in books or movies come to mind), I hope readers find it a compelling snapshot into a potential future. As hard as it was, I enjoyed the journey that certainly felt like my magnum opus as I was writing it.

Please tell us about your writing reference titles, especially the most recent ones.

My last book with Writer’s Digest Books was Bring Your Fiction to Life and is all about three-dimensional writing. My newest writing reference is Writing Blurbs That Sizzle–And Sell!, which is probably self-explanatory .

I’m shopping around another title that I hope to announce the sale of soon: CPR for Dead or Lifeless Fiction: A Writer’s Guide to Deep and Multifaceted Development and Progression of Characters, Plots, and Relationships differs from my previous books in how in-depth it goes in identifying dead or lifeless Characters, Plots, and Relationships (CPR), establishing the proper setup that plants the seeds of CPR early with in-depth sketches so each element can be developed and advanced organically, steadily, and logically. It also pinpoints weak areas in a story with two evaluation techniques that ensure solid CPR evolution and steady progression from beginning to end.

What else are you working on now?

Now that I’ve finished Arrow of Time Chronicles, which has been my main project for the last two years, I’m focusing on finishing up a bunch of other series that have been left lagging a bit because of the sci-fi project.

My Adventures in Amethyst Series will conclude with An Adventures in Amethyst Series Trio of Holiday Romances, which has three short novels that are utterly interconnected and flow into one another, moving in a linear way through the holidays Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with three amazing couples. It was a fun experience writing entwined stories. That should be published in June this year.

In March, I’m outlining what I expect may be the last Woodcutter’s Grim Series story, a fantasy novel. Bridge of Fire, Book 9, fits into the series after The Deep, Book 8, and before Hunter’s Blues, A Woodcutter’s Grim Series Futuristic Story and “The Amethyst Tower”, The Final Chapter. If all goes well, that book will be available by Halloween of this year.

Also on deck this year, I’ll be outlining and writing the next two Bloodmoon Cove Spirits Series titles. I’ve outlined Hidden, Book 6, and this one is outright horror. I’m both terrified and excited about writing that story in April for release later this year. I expect this series to have quite a few more offerings.

I’m also working on a few more novels in my Peaceful Pilgrim unofficial series of romantic fiction.


Some Books I’ve Read Lately:

GOLDEN IN DEATH, by J. D. Robb. I always read each Eve Dallas futuristic police procedural mystery by J. D. Robb (Nora Roberts) as soon as it comes out, although I haven’t reviewed most of them. They’re always well-crafted, a delight for fans of the character and her ravishing, multi-millionaire Irish husband, Roarke. GOLDEN IN DEATH maintains the high level of the series, though I don’t count it among my top favorites. Apparently unrelated people die when they receive packages containing gold-toned plastic eggs that release an instantly fatal, fast-dissipating toxic gas. The victims turn out to be connected through an epidemic of corruption, delinquency, cheating, and bullying at a private school many years previously. In some of the “In Death” mysteries, the criminal’s identity is disclosed or obvious early in the book. This case keeps the reader guessing through most of the story. In an interesting twist, the real targets of the revenge killings aren’t the victims themselves, but their spouses and other loved ones. GOLDEN IN DEATH checks off most of the features expected by loyal readers: Near the beginning, there’s a tender, intense sex scene between Eve and Roarke. Roarke always owns at least one building where Eve has to seek information. Eve and Summerset, the omnicompetent butler, trade snarky remarks (although their relationship seems to have mellowed a bit, as it should after they’ve been through so many crises together with Roarke). Eve’s partner, Peabody, frets about her diet and admires Eve’s wardrobe, while she and Eve engage in affectionate bickering. At the end, Eve rips apart the murder suspect in the post-arrest interrogation. However, Mavis, star reporter Nadine, and dreaded hairdresser Trina are mentioned but don’t appear. I was disappointed not to find a scene with Mavis and Leonardo’s toddler, Bella, one of my favorite secondary characters. A particularly touching incident shows Eve and Roarke planting a tree together next to their new pond, illustrating how far Eve has come since the two of them met in the first book of the series. One thing that has bugged me for a long time, though—why don’t we ever see the fleet of droids (or perhaps crew of housecleaning and gardening minions) who maintain that castle-like mansion and its extensive grounds? Summerset can’t possibly do it all.

BREAKING SILENCE, by Mercedes Lackey and Cody Martin. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the sequel to SILENCE, in which teenage Staci, exiled to a dreary little town in Maine to live with her alcoholic mother, discovers magic and elves. Now the mansion previously owned by the Blackthornes, dark elves who fed off the energy of Silence, lies in ruins, and the town gradually comes alive. Staci’s mother even starts to get her life together. Mentored by Tim, the cranky, reclusive bookstore owner revealed in SILENCE as a powerful mage, Staci and her friends are training for hypothetical future threats. While she practices spellcraft, her D and D partners Seth and Wanda perfect their skills in setting traps and wielding weapons, respectively. Later in the story, their seemingly mundane friend Beth turns out to possess previously unsuspected powers. Meanwhile, Fairgrove Industries, a custom car and motorcycle company we know from other “Serrated Edge” novels to be owned and operated by elves, establishes a branch in Silence. The town welcomes the boost to the economy, and David, Staci’s potential boyfriend, takes a job there. Staci and Tim, however, are suspicious of elves on principle. Clashes with creatures of darkness in the forest reveal that the Blackthorne mansion may still harbor danger. Wanda’s family forces her to attend a church overseen by a fanatical preacher who develops supernatural healing power that may come from an ominous source. Eventually Staci and her friends have to make an alliance with the Fairgrove elves to protect the mortal community and wipe out the forces of evil (or at least their local manifestations) once and for all. The mastermind behind the resurgent threat will come as a surprise; the issue of good and evil isn’t quite so straightforward as the heroes (and the reader) assume. The character relationships and dialogue are entertaining, Tim in particular impresses me as an interesting character, and the changes in the town of Silence evolve believably from the conclusion of the first novel. I like the way the unfolding story demonstrates that elves can’t be relied on to save the day and magic doesn’t solve everything. In general, I enjoyed BREAKING SILENCE very much, but I do have a couple of complaints. Some readers may see a problem with the opening scene, which I can describe without a significant spoiler because it reveals itself a few pages into the book: The novel seems to begin with a life-or-death combat scene, which turns out to be only a training simulation, a rather disappointing cliché. Then there’s a small but very annoying recurrent flaw, the constant substitution of “anyways” for “anyway.” Yes, the younger generations nowadays talk that way, so it’s realistic for the teenage heroes to make that error. It’s jarring to see the word attributed to middle-aged Tim and an immortal elf. Moreover, when the third-person narrator uses it, readers could get the impression that the authors themselves don’t know any better.

MOONTANGLED, by Stephanie Burgis. This novella in the “Harwood Spellbook” universe can be enjoyed without the reader’s having read any of the earlier novels or stories, although familiarity with the background does help. In an alternate nineteenth-century Britain (unrelated to the author’s Kat Incorrigible alternate Regency fantasy series) called Angland, women are the politicians and leaders, serving on the Boudiccatte (the ruling council), while only men can be magicians. Typically, any woman hoping to rise to power has the help of a magician husband. These gender restrictions have recently been overturned by the grudging acceptance of female magic-users and the founding of the Thornfell College of Magic to train them. Heroine Juliana, a student at the college, is secretly betrothed to an aspiring politician, Caroline. They plan to reveal their relationship only after Caroline’s position becomes secure enough that they can enter their planned scandalous marriage with impunity. (As far as I can tell, same-sex unions aren’t strictly forbidden but are considered outrageous.) At a ball at the college, they meet for the first time in a long while. Caroline has decided to break up with Juliana for her own good. Their brief, strained conversation ends in their both declaring they understand the necessity of the breakup, while in fact each woman understands the situation differently. Juliana flees into the faerie-haunted woods rather than return to the ballroom. Upon discovering her absence, Caroline goes after her. Naturally they both stray from the designated safe path into the forbidden, dangerous forest. As punishment for their trespass, a faerie imposes a test upon them for her own enigmatic purposes. Powerful characters who reject their beloveds “for their own good” (like Superman with Lois Lane) have always annoyed me. To Burgis’s credit, Caroline emerges from the ordeal fully aware of how wrong she was. This novella might also be charged with making a crisis out of a misunderstanding that could be cleared up if only the heroines actually talked with each other; however, the danger Juliana almost immediately stumbles into plausibly prevents such a conversation from taking place until the two of them confront the faerie’s challenge. Both women learn better as they move their relationship to a deeper level. I enjoyed this fast-moving, fun story for its intense character interaction as well as the magical atmosphere. As a plus, it has an enchanting cover illustration.

STOKER ON STOKER, by Dacre Stoker. This book edited by Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew compiles some materials not easily found elsewhere, including a collection of obituaries and contemporary reviews (supplementing those reprinted in John Edgar Browning’s DRACULA: THE CRITICAL FEAST), an essay titled “The Cholera Horror” by Bram Stoker’s mother (a reminiscence from her childhood written at her son’s request), and an interview with Bram Stoker about the background of DRACULA. The volume begins with Dacre Stoker’s introduction, a detailed timeline of Bram Stoker’s life, and about twelve pages of miscellany labeled “Notes and Nuggets” (such as a letter from Stoker to William Gladstone, one to Stoker from Arthur Conan Doyle, a discussion of Cruden Bay and Slains Castle, and Winston Churchill’s comments about Stoker, among other items). The collection concludes with four of Stoker’s short stories. “The Squaw” and “The Judge’s House” have been reprinted in horror anthologies, but “The Crystal Cup” (his first published story) and “The Seer” (actually an excerpt from a novel, but also published separately in the author’s lifetime) are new to me. Although not radically groundbreaking, STOKER ON STOKER would be a worthwhile addition to any DRACULA fan’s library. As a nice-looking, modestly priced trade paperback with several illustrations, it’s definitely worth buying if the subject interests you.


Excerpt from “Werewolf Watch”:

Two days later, they met to “tag-team the werewolf,” as Britt put it. The patient, Carlos Reye, offered his hand as Roger strode into his partner’s office. The young man, apparently in his early twenties, had olive skin, curly, black hair, and the characteristic lycanthropic trait of bushy eyebrows that met over the nose. Unlike Roger, who as a vampire had the same feature, Carlos didn’t minimize that anomaly by shaving between his brows. Darker crimson streaks in the rose-pink of his aura hinted at his nonhuman heritage, as did a wild tinge in his scent. His nostrils flared, as if he’d noticed the metallic aroma that signaled Roger’s hybrid nature. Since he had no idea vampires existed, of course, that oddity would puzzle him. When they shook hands, Roger noticed the other inescapable sign of lycanthropy, index and middle fingers of the same length.

“Thanks in advance for your help,” Carlos said as Britt waved him to a seat on the couch. His pulse, audible to Roger’s superhuman hearing, raced with tension. “You don’t have any trouble believing I’m a werewolf?”

“I trust Dr. Loren’s judgment.” He rolled the desk chair over to sit facing the patient, while Britt positioned herself on the other end of the couch. “She’s given me a summary of your problem, but please tell me about it in your own words.”

The young man knotted his fingers together. “I’m afraid I might be changing at night without knowing it and hurting people.”

With a light touch on Carlos’ wrist, Roger applied a subtle psychic nudge to calm him. “What makes you think that?”

“Reports of animal attacks the day after I’ve had nightmares about turning into a wolf against my will. I haven’t seen any evidence that I’ve left the house, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything, does it?”

“Up until now, have you had control over your transformations?” Contrary to popular culture clichés, werewolf shifting had no connection to the phases of the moon. If a subject believed that superstition, though, the belief might have psychosomatic consequences.

Carlos shrugged. “As far as I know. When I’m awake, I can still turn from human to wolf and back at will. I go hunting in the woods—just animals like rabbits, deer, raccoons—two or three nights a week to get the urge out of my system.”

“Alone?” Britt asked.

“Yeah, except when I first started and Mom was training me. She doesn’t belong to a pack, so I’ve never wanted to get into that scene.” From what little Roger and Britt knew about werewolf packs, they might object to associating with human-werewolf hybrids.

“How can I be sure I’m not transforming in sleep?” A dimming of Carlos’ aura mirrored the strain in his voice.

“How many times has this happened?” Roger asked.

“Four over the past few weeks.”

“Have you asked your mother for advice?”

The patient shook his head with a sheepish expression. “I don’t want to worry her. Plus, I’m kind of ashamed to admit I might be losing control, after she tried so hard to teach me how to handle my condition. That’s why I decided to go to a psychiatrist instead. I dropped some hints about my trouble to Jenny.” That was Britt’s former werewolf patient. “She recommended Dr. Loren, so here I am.” He nodded at Britt. “She said maybe you could find out what’s going on by hypnotizing me.”

-end of excerpt-


My Publishers:

Writers Exchange E-Publishing: Writers Exchange
Harlequin: Harlequin
Whiskey Creek: Whiskey Creek
Wild Rose Press: Wild Rose Press

You can contact me at:

“Beast” wishes until next time—
Margaret L. Carter