Archive for January, 2022

Welcome to the January 2022 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, 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:
Barnes and Noble

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:

The Fiction Database displays a comprehensive list of my books (although with a handful of fairy tales by a different Margaret Carter near the end):

Fiction Database

My Goodreads page:

Please “Like” my author Facebook page (cited above) to see reminders when each monthly newsletter is uploaded. I’ve also noticed that I’m more likely to be shown posts from liked or friended sources in my Facebook feed when I’ve “Liked” some of their individual posts, so you might want to do that, too. Thanks!

Happy New Year!

My contemporary elf romance, PRINCE OF THE HOLLOW HILLS, was republished by Writers Exchange E-Publishing in October. Two elven princes seek Fern’s baby nephew, one to kill him and one to protect him. Here’s the publisher’s page, where you can read the blurb and the first two scenes of the novel:

Prince of the Hollow Hills

There’s another excerpt below. Ivy is heroine Fern’s sister, and Baird is Ivy’s baby son. Kieran, whom Fern has met only once before, is a cousin of Baird’s vanished father.

This month, I’m interviewing contemporary romance author Margot Johnson, who has a recent release in the Wild Rose Press “Christmas Cookies” series:


Interview with Margot Johnson:

What inspired you to begin writing?

I grew up in a family of writers. My dad was a journalist who always encouraged my sisters and me to read and write. My sister Donna Gartshore writes for Harlequin Love Inspired. (My other sister became a nurse like our mom.) From an early age, I dreamed of seeing my name on the cover of a book.

What genres do you work in?

My books are sweet, contemporary romance although I see myself evolving into broader women’s fiction/chick lit. I have a couple of children’s picture books that have been close to being published, and I continue to dabble in ideas for kids.

Do you outline, “wing it,” or something in between?

I outline enough to write a synopsis, but I really like to see where characters take me. I’m often surprised when things happen that I never expected. In my latest book, Let it Melt (being released in February), the heroine turned out to be the sister of a character from Let it Snowball. I had no idea!

What have been the major influences on your writing (favorite authors, life experiences, or whatever)?

Growing up in a family of writers on my dad’s side, I was naturally drawn to writing. I remember my dad clicking away on a manual typewriter at the dining room table. When I started university, I was interested in law, but I enjoyed my English classes so much, I decided to focus on English and see where it led me. Whenever I read a really good book—no matter what the genre–I feel inspired to write.

What inspired your “Christmas Cookies” story LET IT SNOWBALL?

The Wild Rose Press introduced a series where the title needed to include a type of Christmas cookie which I thought was fun. I had been toying with the idea of a story about a tour guide meeting her match while leading a tour, and everything came together in Let it Snowball. A snowy, cold, prairie winter was the perfect setting for a Christmas story with snow in the title.

What is your latest or next-forthcoming book?

Let it Melt is a follow-up to Let it Snowball. This time, Merilee hosts a Sweetheart Tour which leads to fun adventures and unexpected romance.

What are you working on now?

I’ll soon be starting a third novella with another tour by Merilee. I like the idea of characters being forced together on a bus tour as they discover new destinations and surprising relationships. It will be fun to show how life has changed for some of the characters in the first two books in the series.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just write! Don’t wait for the perfect time or the perfect idea. So many people tell me they have an idea for a book but they haven’t found time to write it yet. When I was working full-time, I set my alarm early and wrote for at least an hour before I went to the office. The process of writing sparks creativity, so forcing yourself to sit at the keyboard and write helps the story develop and flow.

What is the URL of your website? What about other internet presence?

Author Website

Facebook Page

Twitter Page


Margot Johnson ~ Author
Let It Snowball
Love Leads the Way
Love Takes Flight


Some Books I’ve Read Lately:

GHOST STORIES OF AN ANTIQUARY, by M. R. James. This edition of a classic collection of horror stories is the latest installment in a series of public domain works edited and re-published by the Horror Writers Association under the umbrella title “The Haunted Library of Horror Classics.” You can find this particular book on Amazon here:
Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
It features an informative, thoughtful introduction by David Morrell, author of FIRST BLOOD (the novel that created the character Rambo). GHOST STORIES OF AN ANTIQUARY contains some of M. R. James’s best-known fiction, including “The Mezzotint,” “Count Magnus,” and “Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad,” among others. A less often reprinted piece, “Lost Hearts,” was one of the first things by him I read (in my early teens), a creepy yet poignant tale of child ghosts. James wrote atmospheric stories of supernatural horror but little overt violence, often with inquisitive scholars as protagonists. The editors have added several explanatory footnotes to each story, defining words not commonly used in the present day and identifying real-world people and locations. Like all the volumes in this series, the book includes a bibliography of suggested further reading and a list of proposed discussion questions for classroom study. You can read about the Haunted Library project and view the covers of all the books published so far here:
Haunted Library of Horror Classics

REVELATOR, by Daryl Gregory. A folk-horror novel set in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in the 1930s and 40s. In 1933, nine-year-old Stella’s father dumps her at the mountain home of her maternal grandmother, Motty. In 1948, Stella reluctantly returns for her grandmother’s funeral. The narrative jumps back and forth between these two time periods, gradually revealing Stella’s past and the secrets of the cult her grandmother belonged to. Having a rocky relationship with Motty, Stella became friendly with a bootlegger who took her under his wing, and as an adult she has become partner in and heir to his business. She has no desire to live in the place where, as a child, she was introduced to a creature known as the god under the mountain, familiarly called “Ghostdaddy.” She wants no more part of the role imposed on her as the “Revelator” who acts as a sort of oracle of the god’s will in an ecstatic state. When she returns for the funeral, she has to deal with Sunny, a girl of mysterious origins adopted by Motty. Trying to spare Sunny the fate she herself barely escaped, Stella attempts to defeat the cult masquerading as a conventional church and close off the portal to the god’s underground lair. At first Ghostdaddy seems like a paranormal eldritch entity, but as his or its nature is further explored, I get the impression that the “god” is an alien but natural being. The culture of mid-twentieth-century Appalachia is fascinatingly portrayed. The full truth about Stella’s past and her connection with Sunny comes as an astounding revelation that, in retrospect, makes perfect sense.

GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, by Diana Gabaldon. The ninth Outlander novel, finally released following a seven-year wait, takes place in 1779 soon but not immediately after the conclusion of WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD (2014). That book ended at what could have been a natural stopping point for the main series, with the family reunited and no cliffhangers or major loose ends impending. It has been clear all along, however, that Gabaldon intends to carry the saga through the American Revolution. It’s been predicted that the next volume (the tenth) may be the last. With two years still to go until the battle of Yorktown, the unofficial end to the war, I’m wondering how she’ll pull it off. The title refers to the Appalachian tradition of informing the occupants of a household’s beehives when a family member departs or dies, in the belief that otherwise the bees will desert the hives. Throughout the book, this motif recurs as Claire talks to the bees whenever any important change happens. While life at Fraser’s Ridge goes on, threats posed by the Revolution loom in the background. Jamie and Claire, of course, support the colonists, but they hope the war will bypass their home and Jamie won’t be forced to fight. Some of his neighbors, even a few residents of the Ridge itself, stay loyal to Great Britain. A tense détente remains in effect, but open conflict could erupt at any time. A history book Brianna and Roger have brought back from the twentieth century, written by Claire’s first husband, Frank, records that a James Fraser will die at the battle of King’s Mountain. That’s a common Scottish name, though, which could belong to any of dozens of men in eighteenth-century Carolina. Even if “our” Jamie is referred to, the possibility may exist of changing fate in small ways, even if not deflecting pivotal events in the historical timeline. Meanwhile, Brianna and Roger fear that a potential enemy from their own time may have pursued them through the stones (i.e., the temporal portal). Most of the story, however, focuses on day-to-day life with its small and large problems, joys, and sorrows. Since the evolution of Appalachia from its Celtic colonial roots into the mountain culture familiar to us is the element of recent volumes in the series that interests me most, I enjoyed BEES for this feature. We witness Claire developing into the archetypal “Granny” healer of the mountains, aided by the 1977 Merck Manual Brianna has brought her as a gift from the future. Jamie perfects his home-distilled whisky while evading taxes. We find out what’s going on with most of their friends and relatives. Some incidents make it clear how hazardous settling a wilderness can be; bears, for instance, aren’t the food-stealing nuisances of modern parks but an active danger. The time-travel thread isn’t neglected. I love fish-out-of-water details such as Claire and Brianna introducing Jamie to Dr. Seuss. (Brianna has brought along her daughter’s favorite storybook, GREEN EGGS AND HAM.) The novel ends with, if not quite a cliffhanger, a fresh, unresolved crisis. The book includes a sprawling, complicated family tree, along with eight pages of helpful Author’s Notes in various categories such as figures of speech, historical people and places mentioned in the text, culture and language, etc. Like previous volumes, this novel is narrated partly in first person by Claire and partly in third person from other viewpoints.



Fern let out her breath in a long sigh and stooped to retrieve her purse from under the counter. The heavy necklace thumped against her chest, bothering her, so she took it off and stuffed it into her bag. The humid heat of the afternoon settled onto her skin the minute she stepped out the door. In her car, she switched on the cranky air conditioner and waited for it to do its feeble best to relieve her discomfort. Her thoughts churned with anxiety. Little as she wanted to grant any validity to Ivy’s foreshadowings of disaster, she had to admit that if two other people claimed Baird was in danger, the warnings might have some basis in truth. Which one of the two should she be watching out for? The alleged detective who hadn’t offered his name? Or the cousin of Baird’s father, a man who’d deserted his pregnant girlfriend?

Shoving these speculations to the back of her mind, Fern pulled her compact car away from the curb, made a U-turn at the corner, and headed for the historic district. She followed the narrow road between the high, gray walls of the Naval Academy campus on one side and the red brick buildings of St. John’s College on the other, then inched around the traffic circle next to the city dock, with its upscale shops and million-dollar boats. Ivy lived only five minutes away in Eastport, across Spa Creek from downtown Annapolis. Fortunately, when Fern approached the creek, clogged with sailboats as usual in summer, the low drawbridge didn’t open. That delay would have thrown her into screaming hysterics.

She drove a few blocks in the light midday traffic, through shady streets lined with respectable but faded-looking houses built between the World Wars, to the almost-new townhouse complex where Ivy rented a two-bedroom apartment. The car’s erratic cooling system had barely begun to fight by that time. A sheen of sweat coated Fern’s arms and forehead when she parked in front of her sister’s unit. Ivy’s shabby, blue sedan with the baby seat in the back sat in its usual spot. Fern strode up to the door and rang the bell. No sound came from inside.

A movement in the corner of her eye made her jump. Wheeling around, she found Kieran at her elbow. “Don’t sneak up on me that way. What are you doing here?”

“Looking for Ivy, as I told you.” He wore tight-fitting gloves of thin, supple leather or kidskin, a strange accessory on a summer afternoon.

“You just got here? You haven’t seen her yet?”

He shook his head.

When he didn’t volunteer any further information, she turned away from him, opened the screen door, and knocked on the wooden panel. Still nothing. She tried the knob. Although expecting to need her key, she found the door unlocked. The air conditioning, set low enough to generate exorbitant electric bills, made a shiver course over her bare arms when she stepped inside. “Ivy? You home?”

Kieran followed her into the apartment. She pretended to ignore him.

She hurried through the deserted living room to the kitchen. Nobody there. The silence pressed on her like a hundred-pound weight. She checked the downstairs half-bath, then rushed through the living room up the stairs, with Kieran right behind her. Bathroom, empty. Baby’s room the same, of course. Her heart raced with mounting anxiety. *Something’s wrong, terribly wrong. Ivy’s prediction is coming true.* Fern squashed that thought like a spider. These feelings of impending catastrophe weren’t real. She couldn’t let them control her actions.

When she reached the open door of Ivy’s bedroom, she discovered her sister sprawled on her back, with arms and legs flung at awkward angles, eyes shut, and her long hair fanned out behind her head. Oddly, a wrench lay beside her right hand, as if she’d dropped it when she had fallen.

-end of excerpt-

My Publishers:

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

You can contact me at:

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