Welcome to the October 2019 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

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:

Happy Halloween!

Since the publisher of my vampire novels DARK CHANGELING and its immediate sequel CHILD OF TWILIGHT (both horror with romantic elements) has closed, I’ve self-published them in a two-novel omnibus called TWILIGHT’S CHANGELINGS:

Twilight’s Changelings

In case you haven’t read one or both of these novels starring psychiatrist Roger Darvell, a human-vampire hybrid who discovers his true nature in the course of a very strange midlife crisis, you can now get both together at a bargain price. In the excerpt from CHILD OF TWILIGHT below, Gillian, Roger’s twelve-year-old hybrid daughter (whom he has seen only once, when she was a toddler) has run away from her mentor and faces danger from human ruffians.

I’m interviewing romantic suspense author C. B. Clark this month.


Interview with C. B. Clark:

What inspired you to begin writing?

When a botched operation left me unable to speak above a whisper for a year, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel. I loved the challenge and was ecstatic when I finished. Now my voice is back, and I have five published romantic suspense novels and another due out in a couple of months.

What genre do you work in?

I love reading, and I’ll read pretty well anything, but romantic suspense is my favorite genre to both read and write.

Do you outline, ‘wing it’, or something in between?

I’m definitely a pantster. I always start with the first sentence or the germ of an idea and go from there. It’s fun not knowing what’s going to happen next. The trials and tribulations of my characters keep me writing until the end.

What have been the major influences on your writing?

Like many young girls, I read the Nancy Drew Mystery Series. When I was an adolescent, I discovered a box of old romance books in my grandmother’s basement, and I devoured stories by Daphne du Maurier, Victoria Holt, and Mary Stewart. I fell in love with romance mixed with intrigue. Later, Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, and Sandra Brown became my favorite authors.

Has your background in anthropology and archaeology affected your fiction?

Every experience I’ve had in my life influences my writing. I spent several years working as an archaeologist in the field, and even though my stories (so far) haven’t been directly related to archaeology and anthropology, aspects of these subjects slip into my writing.

In the writing of romantic suspense, what tips would you offer about balancing the suspense and the romance elements?

It’s definitely a challenge. Some readers prefer romance with just a dash of suspense, while others like the focus to be on the suspense. The main thing is to ensure that the action doesn’t overpower the romantic connection between the hero and heroine. The story should be all about their developing relationship in the face of villains and adversity. Romantic suspense readers want an edge-of-the-seat thrill, but they also want that happy ending.

What is your soon-forthcoming work?

Healing Hearts is in final edits and will be released soon. It’s a romantic suspense, and is a story that is close to my heart. It’s set on a ranch in the Chilcotin wilderness of Central British Columbia, an area of stunning beauty, and close to where I live. As well as murder, mayhem, and romance, an environmental theme, which is an issue I’m passionate about, runs through the story. Here’s a teaser: “They must overcome their tragic pasts to find the love that will heal their wounded hearts.”

What are you working on now?

Like most authors, I have several stories brewing, and I’m in the process of filling out plot details and fleshing out the characters.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t stop. No matter what sort of sales or mixed reviews you receive, or the pressures of social media, don’t let anyone discourage you from following your dreams. Put your butt in a chair in front of your computer and write. Ignore that tiny, doubting voice inside you and WRITE. Keep writing until your story is finished, and then start the next one.

Where can we find you on the Web?






Amazon Author Page


Some Books I’ve Read Lately:

MAMA’S LAST HUG, by Frans de Waal. Subtitled, “Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves,” this book focuses mainly on primates, especially chimpanzees, but also touches on other animals such as elephants, dogs, etc. and stakes out a position on animal emotions in general. “Mama” was a fifty-nine-year-old chimpanzee at Burgers Zoo in the Netherlands, and the title refers to her final meeting with renowned biologist Jan van Hooff. They had known each other for forty years. The touching account of her deathbed farewell to her human friend sets the stage for Frans de Waal’s analysis of animal emotions, comparing them to similar human reactions. De Waal makes a sharp distinction between emotions and feelings. He defines feelings as internal mental phenomena we can’t know unless the individual describes them to us. Emotions, on the other hand, are observable in the form of biological changes that can be described and measured. He firmly maintains that animals have emotions analogous to our own. Topics include reading another species’ body language, “theory of mind,” the transmission of emotions from one individual to others, whether some emotions are exclusive to our own species, power and aggression, sharing, sense of fairness, and many other intriguing subjects, ending with an exploration of the nature and meaning of sentience. His earlier book ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE? is equally interesting and also emphasizes the continuity rather than division between our species and nonhuman animals.

THE INSTITUTE, by Stephen King. The secret government facility in this novel brings to mind the one in FIRESTARTER, but they’re quite different in detail. For one thing, the Institute, which has existed since the beginning of the Cold War, confines a group of children and teenagers with psychic powers rather than just one; moreover, the Institute has devised a way to make practical use of those abilities. Luke Ellis, an intellectual prodigy preparing to attend college at the age of twelve, is otherwise a normal, well-adjusted kid. He has only one other peculiarity, a touch of telekinesis on the “parlor trick” level, which he can’t control. One night a hit team murders his parents and kidnaps him. He wakes up at the Institute in Maine, in a bedroom mostly identical to his own except for the absence of windows. The other inmates, especially a teenage girl named Kalisha, bring him up to speed on life in the Institute. The inmates receive tokens for good behavior and negative consequences for failure to cooperate. They get injections apparently meant to enhance their psychic gifts, broadly divided between TP (telepathy) and TK (telekinesis). As Luke soon learns firsthand, many of the procedures amount to torture. He and his new friends live in the Front Half. Nobody knows what happens to the kids moved to the Back Half; as in a roach motel, they check in but don’t check out. On the other hand, tokens can purchase cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, and other drugs from vending machines. There’s a playground, and the kids can do pretty much what they want in their free time as long as they don’t stray into forbidden territory. Luke meets a cleaning woman on the staff who seems friendly to the children. By finding a workaround for the Internet blocks on his computer, he manages to help her solve her desperate financial problem, a plot development vital to the kids’ eventual escape attempt. As people vanish into the Back Half and Luke’s powers grow beyond what he allows the experimenters to realize, he also notices deteriorating infrastructure and sloppy security. King’s usual skill in writing child characters comes through in the friendships that develop among the inmates, despite their differences. Meanwhile, we learn the background and purpose of the Institute, partly through the viewpoints of some staff members. Ultimately Luke and his friends have to face the question of which is more important, their own lives or the Institute’s alleged vital importance to the welfare of the entire world. Now to backtrack and mention an oddity of this novel: It doesn’t start with Luke. It begins in the viewpoint of Tim Jamieson, an ex-cop who ends up on a whim in a small town where he’s hired as a “night knocker” for the sheriff’s department. We get to know him intimately before the narrative switches to Luke, and we don’t see Tim again until he reenters the story to help the kids during the buildup to the climax. A strong novel with a satisfying conclusion but not without sacrifice and tragedy.

THE TESTAMENTS, by Margaret Atwood. As you probably know, this is the sequel to THE HANDMAID’S TALE, set fifteen years later. Although it doesn’t continue Offred’s story, we do get some hints of her fate. The book comprises three first-person documents written by: Aunt Lydia; Daisy (later called Jade), a teenage girl growing up in Canada with her parents, who she later learns are her adopted parents as well as Mayday agents; and Agnes, the teenage daughter of a Commander in Gilead, also technically adopted, since her biological mother was a Handmaid. After Agnes’s mother dies, her father marries a new Wife. Wanting to get rid of Agnes as soon as possible, her stepmother urges the Commander to arrange a marriage for the girl. No suitors appeal to her, certainly not the most likely one, Commander Judd, an older man with several deceased previous Wives. Agnes follows her best friend, Becka, into the only other option available to daughters of the elite, claiming a “higher calling”—a vocation to become an Aunt. Meanwhile, we see Gilead, including the odious Commander Judd, through the eyes of Aunt Lydia, who’s as politically astute, secretive, and self-serving as we’d expect from the earlier book and the TV series. In Canada, Daisy’s parents are assassinated, so that she has to go into hiding. One review says this novel is more of a “thriller” than THE HANDMAID’S TALE, a description that definitely fits when Daisy/Jade must travel into Gilead to make contact with a covert “source” who has a cache of explosive information to send to Canada. She poses as a homeless teen who lets herself get “rescued” by two of the Pearl Girls, Gilead’s missionaries to the women of “Sodom.” At the Aunts’ headquarters, she meets Agnes and Becka. Through this sequence of events, we experience Jade’s culture shock in trying to adjust to Gilead, then Agnes’s similar reaction when exposed to the outside world. We also learn more about Aunt Lydia’s background (not the same as in the TV series) and destiny, as well as the ultimate fate of Baby Nicole and what precipitates Gilead’s collapse. I found the glimpses of everyday life in Gilead and the bits of information on such matters as the recruitment and training of Aunts fascinating. I’m wondering how the TV series will handle this material; it doesn’t seem likely they’ll do a fifteen-year time skip. And how will Aunt Lydia evolve from her present TV persona into the character we see in the book? Like the first novel, THE TESTAMENTS ends with a transcript from a historical conference several generations later, long after the fall of Gilead. The speaker explains how the documents were discovered, while conceding that some scholars remain skeptical of their authenticity. Like the epilogue of THE HANDMAID’S TALE, this passage distances the reader from the story’s events and casts doubt on the reliability of women’s testimony. This conclusion, however, feels more uplifting, since in this case the speaker does believe in the reliability of the documents. The final passage of the novel, an inscription on a monument constructed after the fall, speaks for itself.



Jogging along the sidewalk, a light film of snow crunching under her sneakers, Gillian concentrated on her hope that a bus was scheduled between Washington and Annapolis tonight. She didn’t want to travel by day, nor did she relish the thought of waiting in the terminal all night.

Her path took her down poorly-lit streets lined by apartment buildings of dingy brick with the stench of garbage drifting from the alleys between them. Many of the ground-floor windows she passed were boarded up. Occasionally a car rumbled by, or footsteps reached her ears from adjoining streets. At one point a cat darted out of her way and paused to hiss at her before fleeing into an alley. Gillian momentarily considered pursuing the animal. She wasn’t used to going hungry—

When she faced front again, four human figures popped up. They had rounded the corner of a building just ahead. Gillian paused, balanced on the balls of her feet, to brush the edges of their minds. Her fear of losing control made her hesitate long enough to let two of them circle behind her before she sensed their belligerence.

Four dark-haired boys, probably a few years older than she, wearing jeans, boots, and heavy jackets. The one directly in front of her, two inches taller than Gillian and twice as broad, said, “What’s a little girl like you doing out this time of night?”

Gillian stared back at him without answering. His breath smelled like onions, but the lust emanating from him sickened her more.

“Hey, will you look at that!” The youth next to him, shorter and slightly plump, poked at Gillian’s cross. She stepped back, hissing. “Whoa, listen to her!”

“Sounds like a snake,” the larger boy said. “Built like one, too. Or maybe you’re hiding something under that coat?” He plucked at the zipper of her jacket.

With a snarl Gillian slashed her claws across his face. He flinched back and whipped out a knife. “You gonna pay for that, bitch! First I’ll take that thing around your neck, and then we’ll see what else you got for us.”

The other two breathed hot on the back of Gillian’s neck. She understood they intended to rob and rape her. She felt no fear of them—she feared her own anger. The scent of her attacker’s blood made her breathing fast and ragged.

No—I’m too young for human blood! “Leave me alone,” she said quietly, impaling him with her eyes, fervently wishing she could control him as an adult could.

For an instant the compulsion seemed to work. The youth inched backward. The boy next to him, though, remained untouched, for she didn’t know how to influence two people at once. The smaller boy tried to snatch the cross from her neck.

Gillian’s hand grabbed his arm and squeezed until a bone cracked. Startled by the sound, she let go. The leader’s knife swiped at her. The blade slashed the front of her jacket. Dodging just in time to avoid being cut, she felt one of the other boys clutch her from behind.

That violation ignited her rage. All caution consumed by fury, she lashed out. One hand ripped open the leader’s throat, while her left fist knocked down the second boy who faced her.

Whirling, she kneed the third boy in the groin, then kicked the last one’s feet out from under him. Spinning around once more, she saw the leader doubled up on the sidewalk, clutching his neck. Blood spurted between the fingers. He stared at her, wide-eyed, gurgling.

The boy whose face she had bruised tried to struggle into a sitting position. “You—what the hell—”

Their pain and fear rushed over her like cold fire, setting all her nerves aglow. Involuntary contractions rippled through her muscles. Oh, no, it’s happening again!

She peeled off the jacket and let it fall. Just in time—the transformation claimed her in an explosion of heat and electricity. Through the red mist over her eyes she saw three of the four muggers lurch to their feet and run away. The one she’d clawed watched her in helpless terror.

The surge of ecstasy faded quicker this time. Gillian set her jaw and focused on a mental image of herself in the mirror, tired, mussed, and outwardly human. With a wrench, her molecules rearranged themselves.

-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