Welcome to the October 2018 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!
Facebook

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:
Amazon

Happy Halloween!

Harlequin has scheduled a 31-percent-off Halloween sale. On Halloween, visit their website and apply this code: NEVERMORE31

For those who haven’t read EMBRACING DARKNESS, a stand-alone vampire romance in my “Vanishing Breed” universe, here’s a chance to buy the e-book at a large discount:

Harlequin

An excerpt appears below. Heroine Linnet and hero Max (a vampire, though she doesn’t know that yet) are preparing to interrogate a minion of the female vampire responsible for the deaths of Linnet’s niece and Max’s younger brother.

G. Kent (whose vampire trilogy I review below) posted a wonderful 5-star review of DARK CHANGELING on Amazon:

Amazon Review of Dark Changeling

October’s interviewee is multi-genre romance author Marie Dry.

*****

Interview with Marie Dry:

Thanks for having me over Margaret. I love talking about writing and my stories.

*What inspired you to begin writing?*

I’ve made up stories ever since I can remember. I first wrote something down at seven. Sadly that masterpiece was lost.

*What genres do you work in?*

I have one Paranormal Romance book and six Science Fiction Romance Books published. I am also working on a steampunk trilogy, contemporary romance and more Paranormal Romance Series and a Dragon Story. If it’s a romance genre I probably have an idea somewhere in a file or on my computer that will fit the genre.

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

I “wing it”. I’d love to be able to outline and shave some time off my process but that just doesn’t work for me. Any planning I do is with character development. I always have this suspicion that people that plot know things I’m supposed to know.

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

Jayne Anne Krentz is one of the biggest influences. A few of my favorite authors are Nalini Singh, Georgette Heyer, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Christine Feehan and of course my CP Cassandra L. Shaw and many more. The stories have always been there, I think of myself as a story teller and through good times and bad I could depend on the characters in my head to get me through anything.

*How would you describe your dragons?*

Different from what you’d expect a dragon to be and about to meet a catalyst in the form of my heroine.

*How do your vampires differ from the “traditional” type?*

They are elitist and arrogant, so not that much different from most vampires. When I write Alaina and the Vampire I will learn more about them.

*What’s your world-building procedure for alien cultures? Do you keep a series “bible” for each of your series?*

I have a rough bible for the Zyrgin Warrior series. I have an extra set of my books which I use to keep myself reminded of all the facts in the series. It’s full of post-it stickers and with relevant passages highlighted. I do world building the way I plot. By the seat of my pants.

*What is your latest or next-forthcoming book (or both)?*

Dawn of the Cyborg came out 1 September and next will be Alien Redeemed. After that I will either write the next Cyborg or Alien Rescue.

*What are you working on now?*

Alien Redeemed.

*What advice would you give to aspiring writers?*

Write every day, enjoy the writing process and learn the craft of writing. But above all enjoy the characters in your head and their stories.

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

Marie Dry

Facebook

*****

Some Books I’ve Read Lately:

GRANADA HILLS BLOOD WAR and GRANADA HILLS BLOOD LUST, by G. Kent. These two novels complete the vampire trilogy begun in GRANADA HILLS BLOOD. In the first novel, Bach, a native of Bakersfield, California, now living and teaching high school in Granada Hills, gets transformed into a vampire. He quits his job, embraces a new lifestyle, and learns of the ongoing feud between the minority of killer vampires and the generally benign majority. Bach reconnects with Annie Mosher, a former girlfriend, who aligns with the killer vampires and betrays him. He converts and falls in love with a woman named Sophie. In the second and third novels, Bach becomes more deeply initiated into the vampire world. He meets older, wiser undead and teams up with police officers who know about the killer vampires and, in a sometimes precarious alliance, fight against them alongside the non-killers. Annie reappears, her allegiance and moral stance remaining ambiguous. Some people Bach honors and cares for die. In the course of the “blood war,” he discovers the dangerously addictive quality of draining blood, especially vampire blood, in act of killing. Bach’s California milieu is permeated with popular culture, especially the movies of recent decades. Film stars are frequently name-checked and sometimes appear in person. The practice of including living celebrities as characters strikes me as legally risky, although at least the narrator doesn’t say anything derogatory about them. Johnny Depp appears as a vampire, but he’s a nice one. I admire the way this author gives his vampires several unique features. A fledgling vamp will become ill if he tries to go outside the boundaries of his territory. He also needs to consume blood from residents of his home territory. As a vampire grows older, his or her range gradually expands. Although these vampires do need blood, they can also eat and drink ordinary foods and beverages. In an intriguing innovation, mercury acts like “kryptonite” for vampires. A knife blade or a bullet coated with mercury can seriously wound or even kill one of the undead. Bach struggles with not only addiction to the kill (a not-uncommon motif in vampire fiction), but also, more unusually, with depression, personified as the “black dog” of melancholy. It bothers me that Bach so casually resorts to stealing to support himself (even if he can’t teach or coach in the high school anymore, there are plenty of night jobs he might work at). Otherwise, though, he’s a pretty decent guy. Fans of stories that explore the plight of an ordinary person adjusting to the demands of a vampire existence should enjoy this trilogy.

ALTERNATE ROUTES, by Tim Powers. This is a rich and strange work of fantasy, as one would expect from the author of THE STRESS OF HER REGARD and THE ANUBIS GATES. This latest novel reveals ghosts haunting the Los Angeles freeway system. The “currents” generated by the flow of traffic on the freeways attract the spirits of the dead. Ex-Secret-Service agent Sebastian Vickery (not his real name) is in danger from a covert branch of his former service that investigates the freeway ghosts or, as they’re officially labeled, “deleted persons.” Vickery had to leave the Secret Service when he accidentally overheard a fragment of speech the authorities didn’t want him to know about. Now he drives for a “supernatural evasion car service” (as the cover blurb puts it) disguised as a fleet of food trucks. In the first chapter, Ingrid Castine, an agent who has become disillusioned with her organization, saves his life in a gunfight. Thus begins a shared road trip along the highways of both mundane southern California and a surreal alternate dimension. The covert agents, under the supervision of Terracotta, a creepy antagonist who has rejected the concept of free will and the reality of consciousness, monitor and sometimes communicate with deleted persons. Precautions must be taken; for instance, if you speak to a ghost in complete sentences, it may be able to track you down. Therefore, a circle of three or four agents reads a message from a written script, one word per person at a time. As fugitives on the L.A. freeways, Vickery and Castine seek help from several quirky characters. Also, Vickery encounters his dead wife, who committed suicide after learning that they couldn’t conceive children (because he had a vasectomy before they met). The conventional wisdom holds that ghosts aren’t the people they appear to be, but only simulacra with their memories. Yet they THINK they are the people who died, so don’t they deserve to be treated with consideration? In addition to the spirits of the dead, the freeway also harbors the “never born,” shades of individuals who might have existed in a different reality but never lived in ours. Vickery and Castine meet one such shade, his potential daughter. When Castine drives onto an on-ramp that shouldn’t be there and instantly vanishes after passing through the portal, Vickery follows her into the other dimension to bring her back. They have to anchor themselves against the chaos of that realm by fixating on logical, immutable facts such as basic math. They each carry a string abacus and constantly remind each other (for example) that two and two equal four. At the heart of the chaotic landscape stands “the factory,” opposite to the ever-shifting unreality of that world—a site, rather, of “hyper-reality.” Similarly to the mythological allusions in THE STRESS OF HER REGARD, this novel identifies the alternate-dimension freeway Labyrinth with the maze constructed by Daedalus in Greek legend. ALTERNATE ROUTES offers a riveting combination of terror, courage, love, and fascinatingly weird science-fantasy inventiveness.

FLIGHT OR FRIGHT, edited by Stephen King and Bev Vincent. A mostly-reprint anthology of horror stories featuring airplanes. It begins with an introduction by King and ends with an afterword by Vincent, and King prefaces each story with brief commentary. “About the Authors” includes a full paragraph of biographical background on each contributor. The contents range as far into the past as “The Horror of the Heights,” a terrifying adventure by Arthur Conan Doyle, and Ambrose Bierce’s sardonic short-short piece, “The Flying Machine.” The best-known tale in the batch is Richard Matheson’s “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” about an airline passenger who spots a gremlin on the wing, filmed as a classic TWILIGHT ZONE episode. Almost all the others were new to me. This book provides a valuable historical overview of air travel as a motif in horror fiction. Naturally, I like some of the stories more than others, but they all showcase high-quality writing. Two were written especially for this volume: “The Turbulence Expert,” by Stephen King, features a man who has the covert job of riding on commercial flights, going through traumatic psychic ordeals to prevent them from crashing. “You Are Released,” by King’s son Joe Hill, told from the viewpoints of multiple passengers and crew members on a commercial jet, follows the airliner’s suspenseful quest for safe harbor after an international crisis erupts into war. My one gripe about this volume is that the stories appear neither in alphabetical order by author nor in chronological order of publication (which would be preferable). Why do so many anthologies have apparently random layouts?

*****

Excerpt from EMBRACING DARKNESS:

The door behind her swung open. Linnet jumped. In the heat of the conversation, she’d forgotten about Max lurking outside. He darted around her so fast her head spun, grabbed the young man, and shoved him onto the couch. “Linnet, lock the door,” he growled without looking at her.

Shaking, she fumbled for the doorknob, closed and locked the door, and hooked the chain. The man didn’t even try to fight off Max. Instead, he gibbered incoherent phrases that conveyed nothing but terror.

“Shut up.” At Max’s quiet command, the man fell silent. “You will be quiet and listen. You will not speak or move unless I order you to. Is that clear?” The man nodded. Though he slumped, with his arms limp at his sides, his eyes stayed wide open. “Good. Now sit still.”

Linnet couldn’t help retreating a step when Max walked over to her. “You hypnotized him somehow.” She’d never heard of any form of hypnosis that worked so fast, with no soothing chants or shiny focal objects.

“More or less.” His hands skimmed up her bare arms to settle on her shoulders.

Recalling the vertigo that swept over her each time his eyes captured hers, she said, “You tried to do the same to me. But you can’t.”

“So I’ve concluded. Very intriguing.” One of his hands crept from her shoulder to her neck. His cool fingers on the flushed skin made her shiver. “But I don’t want you to hear my conversation with our host, so—”

She felt pressure on the side of her neck. Gray spots clustered before her eyes. He’s strangling me! The gray thickened to black. With a sensation like a rapid fall in an elevator, she tumbled into the blackness.

-end of excerpt-

*****

My Publishers:

Writers Exchange E-Publishing: Writers Exchange
Harlequin: Harlequin
Hard Shell Word Factory: Hard Shell
Whiskey Creek: Whiskey Creek

You can contact me at: MLCVamp@aol.com

“Beast” wishes until next time—
Margaret L. Carter