Archive for May, 2022

Welcome to the May 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

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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

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Barnes and Noble

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Carter Kindle Books

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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

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The Wild Rose Press has contracted to republish “Crossing the Border,” an erotic dark paranormal romance novella with Lovecraftian elements. I’m delighted that it’s going to be back on the market after several years of being unavailable. A deceased novelist’s widow and his literary agent discover why he warned against publishing his final book—because the realm of eldritch horrors in the author’s fiction is real. A teaser from the beginning of the story appears below.

In honor of reaching the milestone of 200 issues of this monthly newsletter, on Friday, May 6, I’ll randomly choose one subscriber to receive a $20 Amazon gift card. To subscribe, go here:

News from the Crypt

This month I’m interviewing multi-genre romance author Anna M. Taylor.


Interview with Anna M. Taylor:

What inspired you to begin writing?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. However what inspired me to write professionally was a challenge from my mother-in-law. At the time I was writing X-Files fan fiction and she asked me why I wasn’t writing about my own characters. It revived in me an old desire to do just that so I joined Romance Writers of America to get me started.

What genres do you work in?

I write inspirational romance as Anna Taylor, erotic/steamy romance as Michal Scott and gothic/ghost story romances as Anna M. Taylor.

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

I outline. You could call me a plotter on steroids. I’ve been using a series of templates created by Mary Buckham and Dianna Love from their book Break Into Fiction that make sure I build my story correctly.

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

Hands down Mary Buckham has been the major influence on my writing. Many years ago I took my first class with her on writing synopses and query letters. Talk about learning what I didn’t know. Then while I was still unpublished she asked me to be part of a panel she was proposing for a Romance Writers of America. When I said, “But I’m not published,” her response was, “You’re an author whether you’re published or not.” She challenged me to think of myself in asset-terms not deficit ones. I’ll always be grateful to her for that.

How did your first career as a minister affect your fiction writing (if it did)?

Because I see the longest running unrequited love story being played out in the two testaments of the Christian Bible, I believe being a minister has attracted me to the second chance romance trope. The messages of my sermons centered around God’s love for us and how God continually seeks us out despite all the times we reject that love or think we’re unworthy of love. However, the biggest influence being a minister had on my fiction happened in seminary when I was introduced to the love mystics of Begijn. Their prayers inspired me to try my hand at Christian erotica and Christian erotic romance. When you read translations of those prayers you’ll understand why. When someone asks how I as a minister can write erotic romance, I point them to the ecstatic prayers of these mystics. I say if there can be Christian erotic non-fiction, there can be Christian erotic fiction, too.

What kind of research did you do for your historical romances?

I research geography first. I need to be sure that how things look today don’t interfere with how my characters interact with their setting back then. I then look up what significant events took place in the year my story takes place to see if it can have an impact or should have an impact on the events in my story. This last is particularly important since I write about Black history and settings which don’t usually get attention from mainstream historical sources.

What is your latest or next-forthcoming book?

My next-forthcoming book is the third story in my Haunted Harlem series. It’s called Always the Dead Between and combines my normal ghost elements and second chance romance trope with time travel.

What are you working on now?

I have two works in progress: an inspirational historical called A Pearl of Great Price where the hero and heroine have given each other thirty days to prove they deserve to be the other’s spouse. The other is a steamy historical set in an alternate universe 1800’s African American New York City and Brooklyn called Or What’s A Heaven For? It’s my attempt to tell Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold from the point of view of the women in that opera.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Find a supportive community. There are times your internal editor will try to convince you you’re no good. You need others to remind you that’s not so.

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

My Michal Scott erotic romance website is Michal Scott and my gothic/ghost story romance website is Anna M. Taylor.

On Twitter I’m @revannable and @mscottauthor1 where I share aspirational songs to keep us hopeful as well as promos and recommendations for other authors’ work. On Facebook I’m annamtaylorAuthor. There I share aspirational music and updates on my gothic/ghost story works in progress.

Thanks for the opportunity to share.

Anna T.S.


Some Books I’ve Read Lately:

PETER DARLING, by Austin Chant. By far the most unusual re-imagining of PETER PAN I’ve ever read. Since the title hints at Peter’s secret and it’s revealed fairly early in the book, mentioning it here isn’t too much of a spoiler: Peter is Wendy, or vice versa. From the first time Wendy invented tales of Peter Pan to entertain her younger brothers, she has always insisted on playing the role of Peter in their games. Her father takes a dim view of her obsession with the Peter persona, while her mother gently suggests she’s treating the “game” a little too seriously. When Tinkerbell transports the protagonist to Neverland, he gains a male body as well as the power (albeit unconscious) to shape the magical island according to his fantasies of freedom and adventure. This version of Neverland doesn’t include “Indians,” but it does contain fairies, mermaids, and pirates. The story is narrated in achronic order, with some of the flashbacks told before events that happen earlier in the timeline, a slightly confusing technique, but I managed to catch on. We gradually learn Peter’s backstory, how he returned to the mundane world after a month in Neverland, tried to tell his family where he’d been and become, and, under the threat of confinement in an asylum, resumed the role of Wendy. Ten years later, on the verge of suicide, he summons Tinkerbell, who transports him back to Neverland. Unlike the island in Barrie’s original story, here Neverland doesn’t confer immortality or eternal youth, even upon Peter. He has grown ten years older, and so have the Lost Boys. Furthermore, meanwhile a new Lost Boy has arrived, a young man named Ernest who has taken over leadership of the small band. He cares for a weak little boy, provoking scorn from Peter, who promptly forgets his mundane past and reverts to the “innocent and heartless” lad of Barrie’s fiction. The perpetual war between the Lost Boys and the pirates becomes more than a game. People (and fairies) die. Suppressed memories break through. The rivalry between Peter and Captain Hook evolves into a mixture of bitter enmity and irresistible fascination. When they are thrown together in a crisis where they depend on each other for survival, the dark truth about Neverland comes out, along with the revelation of what Peter, Hook, and Ernest have in common. While the concept of love between Peter Pan and Captain Hook may sound farfetched, the author makes it heart-wrenchingly believable. I did, however, notice what appears to be one plot hole: Given the nature of Neverland as eventually revealed, Tinkerbell shouldn’t be able to visit Peter in London. The novel’s bittersweet conclusion, although not anything I expected, struck me as completely satisfying.

LITTLE (GRRL) LOST, by Charles De Lint. A 2007 YA novel set in De Lint’s invented Canadian city, Newford. This story, having no direct connection to the events of the main series, can be read on its own. Fourteen-year-old T.J.’s family, forced by financial reverses to give up the farm where she was happy, has moved to Newford. In addition to missing her home and friends, she’s had to give up her beloved horse. She feels that her parents have little sympathy for her teenage misery. Her self-absorbed unhappiness is realistically rendered without making her seem unappealingly whiny. As the novel begins, she thinks she hears mice inside the walls, a guess supported by her cat’s behavior. Instead, that space is inhabited by Littles, six-inch-tall people living in the interstices of the world of the Bigs (us), like the diminutive characters in THE BORROWERS and MISTRESS MASHAM’S REPOSE (both mentioned in the novel). The book also brings to mind De Lint’s own much earlier novel THE LITTLE COUNTRY, which uses similar tropes. T.J. meets Elizabeth, a sixteen-year-old Little running away from her parents’ overly strict rules (as she sees them) about never letting Bigs know their kind exist. After a prickly start, T.J. and Elizabeth become friends. Unfortunately, when Elizabeth has second thoughts and decides to return home, she discovers her parents have moved away, in an excess of caution over their presence having been discovered. T.J. proposes seeking help from an author who has written children’s books about Littles, in case she might actually know them and have secret information about them. Luckily, she happens to have a book signing scheduled in Newford. The two girls’ plan to smuggle Elizabeth into the bookstore, naturally, doesn’t go smoothly. Instead, an attack by a gang of bullies separates them; from that point, the narrative alternately follows T.J. and Elizabeth. T.J.’s scenes continue to be told in third person, past tense, with Elizabeth’s in first person, present tense. As T.J. desperately searches for her missing friend, helped and hindered by two very different boys she meets along the way, Elizabeth encounters a “feral” Little, though he prefers the term “ranger.” With his help, as well as learning where her parents went, she tries to uncover the truth about a legend that some Littles can change into birds. Lots of adventure and suspense—at first I wasn’t sure what to make of the author’s reaction when T.J. finally gets to meet her. Through their separate and shared explorations and dangers, both girls grow in adaptability and emotional maturity without losing their sharp edges.

PROMISES TO KEEP, by Charles De Lint. Also set mainly in Newford, this novel, which takes place in 1972, reveals the backstory of De Lint’s major recurring character Jilly Coppercorn. At the beginning of this book, Jilly (born Jillian Carter) hasn’t yet become aware of the supernatural realm she knows so well in the other volumes in the series. As we learn from her first-person account, she has a happy, productive life as a budding artist, after a rough childhood followed by years spent mostly as a teenage homeless drug addict. A voice from the past calls her by her old name. Donna, whom Jilly hasn’t seen in many years, was her best friend in the Home for Wayward Girls and later on the street. Now Donna, who’s also become clean, belongs to a band. She invites Jilly to watch them perform at a nightclub that, as far as any of Jilly’s friends know, doesn’t exist. Nevertheless, Jilly manages to find it and has a wonderful evening. Afterward, Donna leads her out a back door—into a different place. They’ve passed through a portal into an apparently ideal city, Donna’s new home. The residents work at fulfilling vocations and somehow have all their needs supplied. A bank account in Jilly’s name appears out of nowhere, and she lucks into an apartment as well as a group studio where she can paint. All the people she meets seem unfailingly cheerful, friendly, and helpful. Well, all except one. When she encounters a grouchy man who warns her against taking the city at face value, she gets her first inkling that it may have a dark side. As the true nature of the place gradually becomes clear, Jilly faces the decision of whether to stay there or return to the flawed real world. If she chooses the former, her friends will probably think she disappeared for no reason and abandoned them, maybe to fall back into the pit of addiction. Her choice will be irrevocable, for there’s no free travel between the paradisial city and the mundane realm. Moreover, she’s warned she’ll also forget the entire experience if she returns home. De Lint renders the balance between the genuine joys of the city and the darkness at the margins with subtly disturbing effect. Jilly is a believable, engaging character, and she comes across as authentically torn by her dilemma. Even though readers of De Lint’s other work know how she’ll end up, we feel the suspense of her choice. She narrates the flashbacks that reveal her painful backstory in past tense, with the current action told in present tense. In this case, that narrative choice seems justified in order to maintain the suspense while staying in Jilly’s first-person viewpoint.

TALES FROM THE SEA. This lovely hardback compilation of fairy tales and legends from a variety of different countries doesn’t list an editor, only an illustrator (Maggie Chiang). While a few of the contents slightly stretch the definition of “sea stories,” all are entertaining, especially for readers intrigued by different styles of storytelling in different regions of the world. All the selections are in the public domain, with their original publications listed in the back of the book. Stories come from China, Japan, Norway, Iceland, Hawaii, New Zealand, Armenia, Russia, Ghana, Korea, and the Philippines, among others. The cautionary narrative of the fisherman and his greedy wife will be familiar to most readers from the Grimm brothers’ tales. The only other piece already known to me was the Japanese legend of the fisher lad Urashima Taro, whose sojourn under the ocean seems like a few days to him but spans centuries in the real world, as in many tales of human beings spirited away to faerie realms. Anyone interested in folklore from multicultural sources would enjoy this book.


Excerpt from “Crossing the Border”:

“Why haven’t you answered any of my messages? I’m not lying, crazy, or putting you on. The stars are coming right soon. The danger’s real, and I can help. My number is—”

Paula deleted the voice mail without bothering to listen to the rest. Why wouldn’t that nutcase take the hint and leave her alone? It’s time to call Doug. I’ve put this off too long already.

She shook her head in irritation at the way her hand trembled as she picked up the phone. Her pulse accelerated when she punched the speed-dial number for Douglas MacNair, her late husband’s agent. Why would the prospect of talking to Doug make her breath quicken and her stomach flutter? She’d seen and spoken to him often enough in the year since Kyle’s death. Doug is just a friend. Always was, always will be. A close enough friend that he wouldn’t mind getting a call at home at nine in the evening.

When he answered, his bass voice flowed through her like molten honey. She’d often thought he should have become a singer or actor instead of a literary agent, with that voice. “It’s always great to hear from you, Paula, but what’s wrong?”

Damn, do I sound that shaken up? She swallowed and drew a deep breath to steady herself. “What makes you think anything’s wrong?”

“Come on, as if I didn’t know you well enough to hear it in your voice.” She imagined him lounging in the overstuffed chair by the window in the living room of his New York high-rise condo, doodling on a notepad the way he always did during conversations. “Besides, if this were some routine thing, you’d call in the daytime or send an email.”

“I’ve decided it’s time to go through Kyle’s unpublished stuff. How soon can you make it down here?”

“And this was too urgent for email? Let’s hear it—what brought on this decision all of a sudden, after I’ve been trying to talk you into it for the past six months?”

She twisted a lock of hair around an index finger the way Kyle had found so annoying. She almost stopped, then mentally snapped at herself, Kyle isn’t here. “There’s a guy who’s been bugging me with emails and phone messages. He’s got some kind of bat in his belfry about that unpublished novel Kyle posted excerpts from.”

Tension hardened Doug’s tone. “How long has this been going on?”

“Well…since the week after Kyle died.”

“And you didn’t say a word to me about it.” He sounded halfway between angry and hurt. “What am I here for anyway, if not to help with problems like that?”

“It wasn’t worth bothering you with. Not until he started phoning instead of just emailing. I decided the message he left a minute ago was the last straw. He keeps babbling about some kind of danger.”

A long sigh gusted over the phone. “Okay, who is this person?”

“Somebody named Gary Furness. He edits a webzine called Scribes of Darkness.”

“Sure, I know it. Won a couple of awards. He interviewed Kyle once. He didn’t seem crazier than anybody else in the field.”

“Yeah, that’s him. He must have tipped over the edge after that. We met him at a horror con the month before Kyle died. Furness trailed us around the hotel, harassing Kyle with his obsession over that unpubbed novel.” She had a vivid mental image of a weedy young man with rapid-fire speech, who wore his brown hair tied back in a ponytail.

“You can tell me all about it when I get down there.” After a brief silence, Doug went on, “Okay, I’m logged onto the ticket site. Looks like I can get a flight day after tomorrow. I’ll clear my schedule and stay as long as it takes.”

-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