Archive for December, 2022

Welcome to the December 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

For anyone who would like to read previous issues of this newsletter, they’re posted on my website here (starting from January 2018):


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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:

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Happy winter holiday season!

Writers Exchange E-Publishing has just released SEALING THE DARK PORTAL, a sort-of-Lovecraftian paranormal romance. Magically altered memories, a vengeful sorcerer from another world, creatures from the void between dimensions, a cat shapeshifter. . . . An excerpt appears below.

Sealing the Dark Portal

I’m interviewing mystery and paranormal author Iona Morrison, another author who contributed to the Wild Rose Press “Christmas Cookies” series.


Interview with Iona Morrison:

1.What inspired you to begin writing?

I have always enjoyed writing. But eleven years ago, I was home alone for ten months while my husband went out of state to work. I decided to take a writing class. I like to think that I found my inner landscape. I also found my creativity and this writer was born. It is still magic to me.

2. What genres do you work in?

I write romantic mysteries with a touch of paranormal for the Fantasy line.

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

I keep notes about my characters’ traits but mostly I wing it and let my characters take the story.

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

I write about subjects that are near and dear to me, like domestic violence, and human trafficking to name a few. They are worked into the crime area of the story.

5. Please tell us about your Blue Cove Mysteries series.

My first day on a new job as a church secretary, the custodian said to me, “You know we have a church ghost.” And that became the basis for the first book in the series. The series has grown to include another main character a cousin to Jessie Reynolds, and their love interests. The two cousins have a family gift of sight and help to solve crimes in their unique way. There’s another cousin waiting in the wings in my mind who might get a crack at it too.

6. What kinds of research do you do for your mystery novels?

It depends on the way the story leads me. In my last story a friend from Ireland helped me with research about the Potato Famine and Irish Legends and in the same story I researched about the treatment of indigenous children in boarding schools.

7.What inspired your Christmas Cookies novella “Magic and Midnight Mint Bars”?

I wanted to write a happy story about one of the secondary characters in Blue Cove. Sally Mansfield was a domestic violence victim and with a bit of magic she finds the possibility of love again. The cookies are super awesome too.

8.You mention in an interview that you never read the genre you write. Why not? (I know it’s not too unusual for authors to practice that habit, but I’m just the opposite.)

This wasn’t intentional. I was never interested in Mysteries as far as reading goes. I leaned more towards Historical Stories and Regency Romance. I have started reading Heather Graham and a few other mystery writers. I loved the book, Rebecca.

9.What is your latest or next-forthcoming book?

My latest book is “Beyond The Door.” I also have a novella that is coming out next year. “Destiny’s Spring”, and one with my editor right now.

10. What are you working on now?

I just finished the first chapter in another Blue Cove Mystery.

11. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing. I started writing later in life and I never thought I would have thirteen published works.

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

Iona Morrison Website
Iona Morrison | LinkedIn
Iona Morrison (@ionacrv) / Twitter
Iona Morrison Books – BookBub


Some Books I’ve Read Lately:

OUTLANDER AND THE REAL JACOBITES, by Shona Kinsella. A detailed, thoroughly researched history of the Jacobite rising of 1745, with an overview of the background leading up to it, tying in characters and episodes from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series (and the TV adaptation) wherever appropriate. Part 1: “Highland Life in the 1700s” covers topics such as the clan system, the status of women in eighteenth-century society, medicine, witchcraft, and the British army in Scotland. This is the section of the book heaviest on specifically Outlander topics, and Chapter 6 explores locations mentioned in the novels or used for filming in the TV series. Parts 2 through 6 cover the Stuart dynasty, the rising, and the aftermath, with its long-term effects on Highland society and culture, up to the death of Bonnie Prince Charlie. The author clearly distinguishes between actual historical events and how they’re depicted in (or adapted for) the novels. Her style is lucid and entertainingly readable. A timeline of the Stuart dynasty and the various attempts at its restoration provides a useful quick reference. The extensive bibliography demonstrates the scope of the author’s research. Most Outlander fans would enjoy this book, while anyone interested in this historical period could appreciate Kinsella’s work even if unfamiliar with Gabaldon’s series.

OVER THE WOODWARD WALL, by A. Deborah Baker. On first sight of this title, I immediately thought it sounded a lot like an installment in Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series. Well, guess what, A. Deborah Baker IS Seanan McGuire. The middle-grade series beginning with this novel isn’t labeled as taking place in the Wayward Children universe, but it could be. Like those stories, this portal fantasy doesn’t occupy an instantaneous pocket of “Narnia time,” from which interdimensional travelers return to our world with no time having passed here. Rather, as in McGuire’s YA series, the parents of the children in OVER THE WOODWARD WALL know they’ve disappeared and worry about them, as we learn on the last page of the novel. The story begins by introducing a boy and girl who live in the same neighborhood but have never met because they go to different schools. Avery, a meticulous child whose protective parents have brought him up as a lover of rules and order, clashes in personality with Zib, a free spirit who runs wild and rushes headlong toward anything the looks like an adventure. Avery’s extreme dismay when he loses the shine from his shoes and Zib’s cheerfully unkempt hair and clothes encapsulate the contrast between them. One day when a utility line repair blocks their usual ways to school, they run into each other while looking for alternative routes. Instead, familiar streets and houses are abruptly replaced by wilderness, and a wall blocks their path. On the advice of a talking owl, they climb over the wall, Zib excited by the mystery, Avery deeply reluctant. They find themselves in the Up-and-Under, a realm divided into four kingdoms with rulers named after the Tarot suits and representing both the four seasons and the four classical elements. The lost Earth children get help from a drowned girl (who’s been literally drowned, then restored to life as a creature of water) and a Crow Girl, with the power to change shapes between a human child and a murder of crows. This series, by the way, addresses one question most portal fantasies ignore, why the visitors can understand the speech of the residents with no language barrier. To find their way back to the mundane world, Zib and Avery must traverse the improbable road to the Impossible City, facing a variety of threats, potential helpers, and ambiguous tricksters. The two cross-dimensional travelers have a hard time adjusting to their forced alliance, since each is the last person the other would have chosen for a companion. While the quest for home with a party of mismatched comrades evokes echoes of THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ, the tone also has something of an Alice-in-Wonderland feel. Explanations offered by the Crow Girl and the drowned girl do little to mitigate the sense of chaos and illogic Avery and Zib frequently grapple with. The Wayward Children books would probably classify the Up-and-Under as a Nonsense World. At its heart, the Up-and-Under series explores the nature of friendship. The ordeals shared by Avery and Zib illustrate the deep bond that two people can form even if they don’t understand or sometimes don’t exactly like each other. Two sequels, ALONG THE SALTWISE SEA and INTO THE WINDWRACKED WILDS, continue the story with more to come.



Hissing, the cat whirled around to face the front yard. His coat puffed up like a porcupine’s quills. Rina peered through the rain, trying to see what had spooked him.

A sharp acetone smell, like nail polish or overripe bananas, stung her nose. Something materialized a few yards away on the sidewalk between the house and the street. At least, the word “materialize” popped into her mind because one minute she saw nothing and the next minute, there it was. A grayish, four-legged creature, maybe a huge dog like an Irish wolfhound. Its eyes gleamed red. She blinked and rubbed her eyes. Four legs? For a second the beast looked as if it had at least six.

No way, it’s the rain. She couldn’t see clearly through the downpour outside the circle of the porch light. That was why she had trouble counting its legs. That had to be why its edges blurred, almost like a cloud rather than a solid body. It expanded, and its mouth gaped to show fangs longer than any dog’s. It stalked toward her. Too paralyzed with disbelief to retreat, she stood petrified, watching.

The cat’s hiss segued into a snarl. Claws out, he charged at the beast. The creature backed up. Its outline melted into amorphous clump of smoke or sooty fog. The cat sprang on it and sank his claws into the gray clot. The thing solidified into something like a giant dog again. The cat leaped to the ground and raked a slash down one of the elongated legs. The beast retreated to the shadow of a crape myrtle tree at the corner of the yard and vanished. The cat dashed after it into the darkness and out of sight.

Rina slammed the door, shot the bolt, and fastened the chain with trembling fingers. Shaking, she leaned on the panel.

I did not see that.

The rain must have confused her vision. Everything was a blur out there. She hadn’t seen a crimson-eyed smoke creature that changed shape. It must have been a dog. And the cat had chased it away.

My hero. I owe him another can of tuna.

Why hadn’t the Pirellis, the retired couple in the other half of the duplex, come out to investigate the noise? Was the rain that loud? She clenched her fists against the wood and willed herself to stop trembling.

By the time she managed to relax, the rush of the rain slackened to a patter. Outside, a man’s voice spoke so faintly she could hardly make out the words: “Varina, you’re in danger. Listen carefully.”

“What?” The voice sounded almost familiar. But she couldn’t place it, and he’d addressed her by somebody else’s name. She called with her lips next to the doorjamb, “Who’s there? You’ve got the wrong house.”

“Varina, you have to awaken your pendant.” The man sounded closer this time.

-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