Welcome to the August 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:
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:

My Goodreads page:

My first novel, werewolf urban fantasy (with romantic elements) SHADOW OF THE BEAST, has been re-released!

Shadow of the Beast

Part of the opening scene is below. Jenny returns home one evening when her twin brother is supposed to be babysitting for their little sister.

This month features an interview with multi-subgenre romance author Amber Daulton.


Interview with Amber Daulton:

What inspired you to begin writing?

I read my first romance book when I was 12 after I snuck a Harlequin paperback out of my mom’s bedroom. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and I wanted to create my own story about two people having an adventure and falling in love. I wrote with pencil in a spiral-bound notebook and finished that 200-plus page story in about six months.
I published my first book when I was 26, and Lyrical Embrace is now my eleventh book to date. I have about ten more manuscripts on my computer waiting to see the light of day.

What genres do you work in?

I write in a variety of romantic sub-genres, including: contemporary, romantic suspense, historical, western, NA, erotic romance, time travel, and paranormal. Some stories can fit in multiple genres while others fit in only one or two, so I like to keep my options open and my muse flowing to wherever it takes me.
Most romance books nowadays are more than simple love stories. All sorts of plot devices are used, such as: action, danger, mystery, emotional upheaval, and physical trauma, to name a few. If you take away the “falling in love” aspect from a romantic suspense, for example, then you have a suspense/action/thriller story. The romance genre is so widespread that I’ve heard of men reading and enjoying various books without realizing those books are classified as romance.

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

I’m a plotter, and I like to outline chapter by chapter. I use pen, paper, and colored pencils, but sometimes I plot in a Word doc. I try to follow my notes exactly, but more often than not, the characters take control and steer my story in another direction. Then I have to get into arguments with my H/h, or even the secondary characters, and force them back into the outline. More often than not, they refuse to get back in line and I have to write what they want.
Heh, it’s a give and a take relationship.

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

I think my biggest influence on my writing is my imagination. Several books I’ve written have come from my dreams, and I fill in all the missing pieces and fix plot holes when I’m plotting the story.
When I first started writing back in the late ’90s and 2000s (as a teenager), I was reading books published in the 1980s. The writing styles accepted back then are frowned upon now, but that was how I taught myself to write. I guess you could say it influenced me. I didn’t realize passive voice and head hopping was no longer deemed “correct,” so now I’m crazy strict in writing active and using proper scene breaks when switching character POV.

How did you become involved in the Deerbourne Inn series? How does a “multi-author collaboration of novellas” work, and what are the pros and cons of participating in such a project?

Every few years The Wild Rose Press announces a multi-author series and invites all their authors to join. After I heard about the call, I emailed the series coordinator for details and downloaded a few info files. The submission call lasts about two years—ending in December 2020—so if anyone wants to submit a proposal, do it soon.
All the participating authors are required to write a novella set in the fictional town of Willow Springs, Vermont, and the heat levels range from sweet, sensual, to erotic. Some stories take place in the 1800s (around the town’s founding), and others are set in modern day. The series stock characters include most of the town’s inhabitants, and those secondary characters jump from story to story, so you never know who will show up.
Lyrical Embrace—my first contribution to the Deerbourne Inn series—is about a young woman who is trying to find herself after getting out of a bad relationship. I’m sure a lot of women could relate to her.
The biggest challenge in writing Lyrical Embrace and its soon-to-be-published sequel, Harmony’s Embrace, was hammering out the details with the coordinators and with the other authors writing for the series. Everyone has their own ideas, so we had to work together and tweak descriptions or names to make sure everything flows from one story to the next. The only thing I would do differently next time is to be more direct when asking questions in the series forum.

Please tell us about your time-travel series. Science-fiction time travel or fantasy/magic?

Timeless Honor is book 3 in the Mirrors of Time anthology series in which five authors wrote a story. I enjoyed writing about magic and portals so much that I wrote a second story, Timeless Beginnings, which serves as a prequel for Timeless Honor but is separate from the anthology. Both of my sensual Timeless books are standalones.

In Timeless Honor, Jaye Ramsey goes on vacation with her friends to Bolivia in order to prove to her eccentric grandmother that time travel doesn’t exist. There she finds a time portal in the Salar de Uyuni (the salt flats) and winds up in Georgian England. Never did she expect to fall in love with her grandmother’s brooding first husband, Lord Lucas Kenway, who was accused of killing his wife on their wedding night.
In Timeless Beginnings, Leonora Harris flees her newly wedded husband’s home and loses her way in the woods. After she falls through a portal, she wakes up in 1960s Bolivia. Luckily for her, she meets undercover CIA agent Rodger Ramsey and embraces her new life as a modern woman.

What is your latest-released or soon-forthcoming work?

Arresting Jeremiah, the second installment in the Arresting Onyx series, is in the galley stage with The Wild Rose Press. It picks up where book one, Arresting Mason, ends and should be out in late 2020 or early 2021 (both books are standalones).
The story follows hardnosed parole officer Jim Borden and his obsession Calista Barlow as they stick their noses where they don’t belong and fall deep into the trouble with the criminal organization known as Onyx.
This sexy, dirty-talking romantic suspense series spans five full-length novels and two novellas (I’m currently writing the novellas) with a standalone HEA for each rough-and-tumble hero and their spunky heroines.

What are you working on now?

My plate is definitely full!
Harmony’s Embrace is the follow-up novella to Lyrical Embrace, and it tells the story of how Birley Haynes reunites with his high school sweetheart, Harmony Holdich. I love holiday-themed books, so this MS takes place at Christmastime. It’s currently on submission with my editor.
The first novella in the Arresting Onyx series is book 2.5 and follows a minor character from book one and another minor character from book two. I don’t want to give away too much information right now, but I will say this story promises to be a wild ride.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Make friends with other authors and readers via social media. Don’t be shy. Start a blog even if you aren’t published yet, so you can join blog tours. A tour is a great way to get a free ebook as long as you write a review and post it on your blog. The author’s readers will then come to your blog to read the review. They’ll know YOUR name, and that’s what you want—to get your name out there.
Just keep trying. I know it sounds cliché, but there’s nothing else to do. If you don’t try, you won’t succeed. Period. Keep your hopes up, take rejection letters in stride, and if a publisher or editor gives you feedback on why he/she rejected your work, listen to their feedback. They know what they’re talking about.

What’s the URL of your website? Your blog? Where else can we find you on the web?

About the Author

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press, Books to Go Now, and Daulton Publishing, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.
She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats.

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Some Books I’ve Read Lately:

THE MISQUOTABLE C. S. LEWIS, by William O’Flaherty. Some famous authors are particularly prone to having statements misattributed to them (e.g., Mark Twain). Several times I’ve come across remarks on the internet labeled as quotations from C. S. Lewis and thought, “That doesn’t sound a bit like him.” Either the language or the subject matter sounds too modern for someone who died in 1963, the opinion expressed is one he wouldn’t support, or both. O’Flaherty, owner of the website, undertakes the monumental task of compiling online quotations misattributed to Lewis and tracking down the true origins of the lines, if possible, as well as the probable sources of the errors. The four chapters list material under the categories “Not Lewis,” “Almost Lewis” (inexact paraphrases of his actual words), “Not Quite Lewis” (real quotations misapplied out of context), and a short catchall chapter of “Multiple Category Quotations.” This lively and informative book is uniquely valuable for distinguishing real Lewis content from false, however innocent or well-intentioned. The subtitle, “What He Didn’t Say, What He Actually Said, and Why It Matters,” clearly summarizes the author’s theme, that accuracy does matter. Now, when I encounter a faux Lewis quote in the future and want to protest that he never wrote that, I’ll have documentation to back up the claim.

APOCALYPTIC, edited by S. C. Butler and Joshua Palmatier. An anthology of fourteen original stories about the end of the world or, more often, of human civilization. My favorite piece, “Coafield’s Catalog of Available Apocalypse Events,” by Seanan McGuire, isn’t exactly a story, because it has no narrative arc. It comprises a humorous A to Z list of alternatives offered to customers who have “decided to end the human race and possibly the world,” promoted by what appears to be a sort of disaster-scenario catering service. Z, of course, stands for Zombies. The one true end-of-everything story, “Little Armageddons,” by Stephen Blackmore, features a pair of scientists running computer simulation scenarios that all predict the end of the world on a certain date, but from a wildly varying range of causes. In Thomas Vaughn’s quirky “Gut Truck,” the driver of an AI-equipped vehicle dedicated to picking up roadkill gets into trouble when the nano cells in a human corpse accidentally reprogram the truck’s brain. The most moving story, for me, is “Last Letters,” by Leah Ning, about what happens to a girl whose mother disappears on a foraging expedition, leaving the protagonist to fend for herself with only the guidance of the messages left by her mother. The two zombie or quasi-zombie contributions, “Solo Cooking for the Recently Revived,” by Aimee Picchi, and “A Tale of Two Apocalypses,” by Eleftherios Keramydas, are told from the viewpoints of characters recovering from or being infected by the plague. Not surprisingly, quite a few of the tales end unhappily, but others include enough glimmers of hope to keep the anthology from being totally depressing.

SPILLOVER, by David Quammen. This 2012 book explores in depth the phenomenon of zoonoses, disease that pass from animal to human populations, often mutating along the way. Quammen concentrates mostly on the modern era and deals largely but not entirely with viruses. The first chapter tells the story of Hendra, a disease I’d never heard of, discovered in Australia in the 1990s. Other sections discuss malaria, SARS, Ebola, herpes B, Lyme disease, and of course AIDS, among others. The author narrates in detail the progress of medical detectives’ quests for the vectors and reservoir hosts of various deadly infectious agents. He alternates interviews, historical events, and personal anecdotes with general explanations of how infection and epidemiology work, in an entertaining, lucid style. The chapter on AIDS came as a revelation to me, tracing the origin of the disease as we know it back to a single chimp-to-human transmission around 1908, much earlier than previously believed. From there, Quammen follows the progress of the infection from an obscure, localized scourge to its breakout as a worldwide epidemic in the 1980s. My only reservation about the author’s technique comes in this chapter, where he devotes an inordinate number of pages to imaginative accounts of the lives of two hypothetical early human spreaders of the disease. Since the rest of the book appears as cautiously grounded in fact as he could manage, those passages don’t seem to fit. More than once, he refers to scientists’ apprehension of the potential Next Big One—the viral pandemic (probably a coronavirus) that will burst upon the global scene when we’re least prepared. Now that the Next Big One has arrived, this eight-year-old book feels eerily prophetic.

OR WHAT YOU WILL, by Jo Walton. All of Walton’s books or series are different from each other, and this new novel, too, is unique, although it does share an Italian Renaissance background with LENT. The nameless, protean (but always masculine) narrator of OR WHAT YOU WILL is a fictional construct living in the brain of Sylvia, a novelist with terminal cancer, who’s enjoying a final trip to Florence. Or does the narrator have a life of his own rather than being a creation of her mind? Whether or not he existed before she became aware of him in her childhood, his life, as well as his incarnation on the written page, now depends on hers. He went dormant during her young adulthood but revived to rescue her from her stifling, abusive first marriage. Throughout her career, he has been many characters. In the present, the frame narrative portrays his attempt to save her and himself by transporting her into one of her own invented worlds. Naturally, she considers this goal impossible. In the setting of the story nested within the frame, Illyria, a utopian realm centered upon the city of Thalia, a fantasy version of Florence, Sylvia has placed a sequel to Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT. Orsino and Olivia are married to their respective loves from the play. In this world, Orsino is the son of Miranda from THE TEMPEST, who is a magician. Long ago, Illyria made a pact with the gods for their realm to remain at the peak of the Renaissance, with Progress, in the sense of advanced technology, forever barred. Furthermore, people don’t die unless they will to do so or are killed by unexpected violence. Religion consists of a strange yet graceful blend between Catholic Christianity and classical polytheism. Into this world, Sylvia’s tale introduces two young people from Florence of our Earth’s 1847. The plot of the nested story is rather simple and straightforward: Caliban, Miranda’s first husband, erupts into Thalia from his subterranean lair to demand the release of his son, Geryon, blinded and imprisoned in a tower after Orsino wrested the dukedom from him. Orsino and his family must decide how to respond. Character interaction, worldbuilding, and philosophical discourse are more important than the nominal plot. The courteous but never completely reconciled disagreements among the viewpoints of the Illyrians, the visitors from 1847, the narrator, and Sylvia herself provide the thematic core of the novel. Will Sylvia attain an immortality beyond metaphorical survival through her art? Walton offers a fascinating metafictional work grounded in rich sensory detail and Sylvia’s realistically rendered emotional life.



The door creaked as she eased it open. She jumped at the sound.

“Dan? Paula? Where is everybody?” They couldn’t be asleep. Her flaky brother couldn’t have coaxed a twelve-year-old to crash for the night this early. Jenny fumbled for the light switch.

The pole lamp next to the door came on. “Dan, if you’re playing some stupid trick, I’ll kill you.”

No answer.

Her throat tightened. Come on, don’t lose it yet. Maybe he took Paula out someplace and forgot to leave the lights on. He was spacy enough to do that, the way he’d been acting lately. She dropped her things on the nearest end table.

They would’ve left a note. Gone out for burgers, back soon. Jenny scanned the living room, rummaged through the magazines on the coffee table. No sign of a note.

Then she heard—something—from the den, at the other end of the house.

Something—a low, drawn-out rumble of sound. A growl.

Quietly as she could, Jenny slipped off her loafers and tiptoed through the dining room, sidling around the perimeter of the hardwood floor to avoid the squeaky boards in the middle. She edged past the swinging door into the kitchen, her pulse throbbing in her temples.

Her groping hand fell upon the wall phone. What are you waiting for, call 911! She imagined sirens, flashing red lights, a pair of husky policemen barging in. And at the same moment, Dan and Paula strolling up the sidewalk with a video and bag of popcorn.

It’s nothing to get freaked about. A stray dog in the back yard, that’s all.

Leaning against the refrigerator, she felt along the top for the flashlight. She held her breath to listen closer.

Yes—snarls rising to a crescendo. More than one.

Not out back. Inside the house.

Wind rattled the sliding glass door in the den, the one that opened onto the patio.

Shifting the flashlight to her left hand, she dug in a drawer for a butcher knife. Clutching the hilt in an overhand grip, she crept toward the closed door between kitchen and den. Sweat slicked her palms.

She tucked the flashlight under her arm to turn the doorknob. The mingled growls and snarls from the den grew still louder.

A foul smell wrinkled her nose. For a minute she couldn’t place it.

Then it came to her—decayed leaves, wet fur, rank odors. Something that belonged to the night, out there. Not in here. Her leg muscles trembled.

She jerked the door open and clicked on the flashlight.

The glint of red eyes.

She whipped the beam from side to side.

Two pairs of eyes.

The scene hit her in fragments, like scattered puzzle pieces. The familiar shabby furniture. A cushion and afghan from the couch heaped on the floor. A lamp smashed on the floor. The patio door, open.

And in front of it, a huge, shaggy animal. In the quivering flashlight beam, it looked—deformed. A second beast crouched over another heap. Jenny trained the light in that direction.

On the braid rug Paula lay huddled face down, her powder-blue pajamas splotched with dark stains. The growling receded in Jenny’s ears to a uniform roar, like static.

The thing stepped over Paula and slinked toward Jenny. A gleam of pink-tinged spittle drooled from its jaws. Screaming, she dropped the knife and flashlight.

Nausea swelled in her throat. A gray fog thickening in front of her eyes. Flashes of red.

Then, nothing.

-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