Welcome to the June 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:

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!

NetGalley reviewer Jeremy F. gave AGAINST THE DARK DEVOURER four stars! He says:

“Against the Dark Devourer was the best combination of Charmed and Lovecraftian Horror that I didn’t know I needed. Margaret Carter’s Dark Devourer world continues to be great in this story following Deborah and Victor as they take on a new evil that feels all too familiar. One of the best things about this book is that you don’t have to read the first book to understand the world but it definitely enhances the read!”

Reviewer Barbara Custer (editor of NIGHT TO DAWN) gives the novel five stars on Amazon and says, “If you enjoy paranormal romances, you’ll love Against the Dark Devourer.”


Against the Dark Devourer

The Wild Rose Press will release the new edition of my erotic paranormal romance novella “Calling Back Love” on June 13. Lovecraftian erotic paranormal romance novella “Crossing the Border” (an excerpt from which was included in last month’s newsletter) will be published on August 1. A third re-release, erotic ghost romance novella “Heart Diamond,” has also been contracted, to appear on September 14. The heroine receives a ring with a gemstone made from her late fiancé’s ashes (which is a thing that really exists, by the way) and finds herself confronted by his ghost. An excerpt appears below.

June’s interview features women’s fiction author Shirley Goldberg.


Interview with Shirley Goldberg:

What inspired you to begin writing?

I never planned to write a book. Never planned to start over, either.

I’d split up with my husband and moved back from Crete where we’d lived for eleven years. Went back to school for a teaching certification, moved in with my mom and started internet dating.

It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, other than writing my master’s thesis.

I began keeping a diary, although it wasn’t a real diary. More like scribbles in a small, old calendar book with a ribbon to mark the page.

I took notes, sometimes during a date. Yup. Excused myself and went to the restroom to jot down funny or ridiculous details about the guys I met. Some of them couldn’t stop talking about themselves. Others complained about their ex-wives. Quite a few didn’t resemble their photos on the dating site. I wrote it all down. Then I fictionalized some of it and changed the names. That was my first book, Middle Ageish.

What genres do you work in?

I write romantic women’s fiction. Women’s friendships are important to me and my books wouldn’t exist without friendship stories.

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

In between, but I need to know a lot about my characters before I write. I live with them in my head for several days or weeks before I put anything down on the page.

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

I’ve lived and worked in London, Paris, Casablanca, and lived in Greece, so that’s influenced me. My friends of long standing still influence me and we keep in touch, no matter where we are in the world. Author-wise, here are a few favorites: Ed McBain, Nora Ephron, and Helen Gurley Brown. Not kidding. And many many more.

How have your teaching experience and living in different parts of the world affected your fiction?

I’m now working on a book that takes place in Heraklion, Crete, where I used to live. I haven’t been there in a few years, so I still need to research and ask my friends what’s changed downtown, and in the villages where we used to hang out for lunch. Luckily, beaches don’t change and I have my favorite beach, Lygaria, as my screensaver. My teaching background is reflected in my characters. Many of them are teachers and some of the humorous classroom scenes came out of my own experiences.

Please tell us about your Midage Dating website.

My website, Midage Dating, grew out of my dating stories a year before I published my first book. It’s also a place to feature other authors and books I’ve read and loved.

What is your latest or next-forthcoming book?

My new book, A Little Bit of Lust, is with my editor in production. Here’s a teaser: What happens when your best friend is suddenly the sexiest option around—do you risk your friendship for a happy-ever-after? Three middle-aged friends share a bond that is tested by careers, loss, and love. A heartwarming story of forgiveness and starting over.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the book I mentioned that’s set in Crete, Greece. A widow and her best friend take a vacation to Crete, where the widow honeymooned with her husband over twenty years earlier. She’s so not looking for a man, and her impulsive friend is the opposite, always on the lookout. Guess what?

Two men and two best friends. But things might not work out the way you think they should. Except for the happy-ever-after ending, of course.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Never give up! Read great books of all kinds. Write as often as you can, even if it’s fifteen minutes a day. That way you’ll keep in touch with your work-in-progress. I’m going to follow my own advice when I finish writing this. Not kidding.

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

Shirley’s SOCIALS

Facebook Personal Page
Facebook Midage Dating Page
BookBub Profile


Some Books I’ve Read Lately:

SPEAR, by Nicola Griffith. A gender-flipped retelling of the Arthurian legend of Sir Percival (aka Parsifal, Perceval, Peredur, and several other names), who, in the most familiar version of the tale, grew up with his mother deep in a forest, sheltered from the outside world that she feared would destroy him if he learned of and embraced his knightly heritage. The first time the boy encountered knights, however, he was naturally fascinated and wanted to become one of them. The Author’s Note to this novel discusses the legend’s history and its many variants. Griffith’s heroine, Peretur, who lives alone with her mother in a cave in the wilderness, at first doesn’t even have a name. Her mother calls her by nicknames but refuses to divulge her true name or the identity of the girl’s father. The girl becomes an expert with spear and bow, hunting for food while coping with her mother’s mood swings and descents into outright derangement. Magic plays a part in the girl’s life in the form of an antique bowl, a spear she finds near the body of a dead warrior, and a mystical vision of a lake that sometimes appears to her. Covertly watching a band of knights in the forest, she hears about King Artos and his court at Caer Leon. With her spear, she chances to defend the knights (who mistake her for a boy) from deadly peril. Her heart set on joining the King’s company, she suffers a violent reaction from her mother, who finally gives her the name of Peretur but rejects her and revokes her ability to penetrate the magical sphere of protection that surrounds their cave home. At the court, posing as a boy, Peretur enters the royal service but is flatly refused the opportunity to become a knight because “he” won’t reveal “his” past or lineage—ignorant herself of the latter and magically prevented from talking about the former. The masculine disguise, by the way, remains just that; she never stops thinking of herself as a girl. As her adventures unfold, the reader won’t be surprised to learn of the significance of the spear and the bowl. A sword and a stone also figure in the tale, all rooted in Celtic myth. The truth about Peretur’s ancestry and background, however, will probably come as a surprise (it did to me). Her journey of self-discovery and quest for acceptance by the order of knighthood, the twists on the familiar Arthurian mythos, and the numinous magical elements of the story captivated me.

NETTLE & BONE [sic], by T. Kingfisher. Starting with my discovery of this author by way of THE TWISTED ONES, nothing I’ve read by her has disappointed me. This fantasy novel opens with a familiar fairy-tale scenario, a heroine assigned three impossible tasks. When we meet Marra, youngest of three princesses in her minor kingdom’s royal family, she’s deep into the arduous process of wiring bones together to construct a skeletal dog. That painful task and the two others, weaving a nettle shirt and gathering a jar of moonlight, however, mark only the beginning of her quest. When she meets the conditions, the dust-wife—the witch she consulted for advice—will give her the means to kill the prince who’s married to her older sister, Kania. With the second chapter, the narrative backtracks to show how Marra reached this point. For protection against powerful neighbors, their small realm allied with a neighboring kingdom by marrying the oldest princess to the prince. After that sister’s sudden death, Kania, next in age, became the prince’s new bride. Grateful to be spared the role of a pawn in such arrangements, Marra retired to a convent, where (without taking vows) she trained as a midwife. Attending Kania in childbirth, she learns the prince—soon to be king—has been abusing Kania and probably killed their elder sister. Although the two younger princesses have never gotten along well, Marra can’t abandon Kania to a similar fate. Moreover, if the sadistic ruler kills his current wife, Marra will be in line to become his next queen. Therefore, she must eliminate him in some way that won’t plunge her homeland into war. Guided by the dust-wife, she risks a foray into the goblin market to exchange a tooth for what she needs. That turns out to be Fenris, a dishonored knight recently delivered from enchanted sleep in a fairy fort. Since the story is narrated in third person, we eventually get scenes in his viewpoint as well as Marra’s. With Fenris, the dust-wife, the witch’s chicken familiar, and the Bonedog, Marra sets out to rescue her sister and eliminate the evil king. Her mission involves learning the truth about Fenris’s shameful past, venturing into a royal tomb, and confronting ghosts and a fairy godmother, among other ordeals. The story develops with unexpected yet wholly credible twists, suffering and near-tragedies, sacrifices and anguished interpersonal ruptures, and ultimate reconciliations. Marra impresses me as a strong, compelling character, an intelligent, single woman in early middle age with no illusions about her deviation from the image of the ideal princess.

WEREWOLVES, DOGMEN, AND OTHER SHAPESHIFTERS STALKING NORTH AMERICA, by Pamela K. Kinney. Written in an accessible, conversational style, this nonfiction book clearly announces its content in its title. It surveys a broad range of folklore, traditional and contemporary, under the wide umbrella of its subject matter. After the Introduction, the text is divided, in accordance with the title, into three major parts—Werewolves, Dogmen, and Other Shapeshifters. The word “other,” however, seems a little misleading, since there’s no indication of shapeshifting by most of the dogmen. I was surprised at how widespread are encounters with alleged dogmen, bipedal creatures with canine heads and sometimes other animal features. Readers might want to consume this section in small bites rather than all in one sitting, since the dogmen anecdotes tend to have a lot of similarities. Legends and sightings of werewolves and other shapeshifters, such as coyotes, ravens, badgers, and owl witches among others, display more variation over locations and time periods. The book visits many different states as well as parts of Canada and Latin America, hopping around in a thematic rather than geographic mode of organization. The longest single parts cover Alaska and the American southwest. The book deals in extensive detail with skinwalkers, both legendary and contemporary. There’s also a long section on the wendigo. Many of the shapeshifting creatures were new to me. The author straightforwardly reports anecdotes of weird encounters without passing judgment on their truth or falsehood. The narrative mode tends more toward questions than answers. Anyone curious about traditional creatures and modern urban legends in the general category of beast-human hybrids will find plenty of material in this book. Although there’s a three-page bibliography, the main body includes no footnotes to indicate what particular sources contain information about which incidents, in keeping with the generally informal approach (though some sources are identified in the texts of individual narratives). The evocative titles of many of the listed books, however, will surely whet the appetites of readers wishing to pursue certain types of cryptids and mythical beings in greater depth.


Excerpt from “Heart Diamond”:

The door buzzer cut through the bleakness of yet another Saturday evening. Too late for a door-to-door solicitor. Who would visit at this hour without calling first? Roseanne switched off the black-and-white movie she’d been half watching and trudged to the door. Pausing with her hand on the chain, she said, “Who is it?”

“Just me.”

Ted, her late fiancé’s brother. She sighed. I should have guessed. He was her only friend who never bothered to phone before dropping in. As little as she wanted to deal with him on a weekend night, she didn’t have the heart to tell him to get lost. “Yeah, what’s up?” she asked, unfastening the chain. Through the door, she heard the patter of a steady rain.

“I’ve got something important to tell you. Okay if I come in?” His voice sounded enough like his brother’s to give her a fresh twinge of sorrow, though they weren’t completely alike. Ted’s was pitched a little higher.

“You might as well, just for a minute. I was thinking about getting ready for bed.” Lucky she hadn’t changed into her nightgown yet. The way Ted’s eyes roamed over her even in a ratty T-shirt made her vaguely uncomfortable, though he’d never overtly hit on her.

His face always gave her an unwelcome shock. She hoped he didn’t notice the wince of pain she tried to suppress. It wasn’t his fault that he’d been in the car when his brother died or that the two of them looked so much alike. Strangers had often mistaken them for twins, despite the seventeen-month difference in their ages. They had the same honey-gold hair, which Tim had worn a bit longer and shaggier than Ted’s. The same height—six feet two—and they shared a trim, broad-shouldered but not muscle-bound build. Their eyes were different shades of blue—Tim’s closer to gray—and Ted’s profile was a little sharper. Still, any unexpected glimpse of him pierced her breast with a pang of longing and sometimes ignited a flare of need, chased by a shadow of guilt. She never considered pursuing that illusion. She knew the inner differences between the brothers too well. Friends with them since high school, she’d dated Ted only a few times before she’d discovered reasons to prefer Tim.

“Mom and Dad asked me to bring you this.” He strolled into the living room, lounged on the couch and took a small box out of his pocket. His hair and shirt were damp from the rain.

Roseanne sat down, careful to keep space between them. “What is it?”

“Something Tim left for you.” Ted opened the box. It held a silver ring with a blue-tinted, oval-cut diamond flanked by a pair of diamond chips.

She took it from him, her hand trembling and tears misting her eyes. “How—?”

“While the folks were visiting Tim in the ICU, he was conscious for a little while. He asked them to have this ring made for you if he didn’t survive. He said you’d talked about it once. Sounded kind of creepy to me.”

“Why?” Roseanne’s tears made a sparkling halo around the gems. During Tim’s lifetime, they hadn’t gotten around to buying an engagement ring. “What’s creepy about it?”

Ted visibly swallowed, as if working up the nerve to answer. “Because it’s made from his ashes. I tried to talk Mom and Dad out of it, but they said that was his last wish and he’d been in his right mind when he made it. Personally, I wasn’t so sure.”

“He did show me the website when he happened to stumble on it. We thought it was cute and sentimental in a weird way., it’s called.” After touching a fingernail to the central stone, she set the box on the coffee table.

“Morbid, if you ask me. Frankly, if I hadn’t known our parents would follow up on it with you, I wouldn’t have given you this thing. I’d have returned it for a refund and snuck the money back into their account.”

-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