Archive for August, 2019

Welcome to the August 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:

Barbara Custer included an excellent review of my Kindle book VAMPIRE’S TRIBUTE in issue 36 of NIGHT TO DAWN magazine:

Night to Dawn Reviews

Also in that issue, the second half of my story “Therapy for a Vampire,” featuring Roger and Britt from DARK CHANGELING and CHILD OF TWILIGHT, appears. You can read about the magazine and buy a copy here:

Night to Dawn Magazine

“Yokai Magic,” my light paranormal romance novella published in January, received a wonderful 4.5 review from Long and Short Reviews:

Long and Short Reviews

I’ve just released a compilation of five of my former Ellora’s Cave works, lightly revised to make the love scenes less graphic. All of the stories feature heroes with some type of animal traits, so it’s titled BEASTS AND THEIR BEAUTIES:

Beasts and Their Beauties

The novellas and short stories in this collection: “Dragon’s Tribute” (shapeshifting dragon); “Virgin Blood” (Rapunzel with a vampire “prince”); “Foxfire” (contemporary kitsune romance); “Lion’s Bower” (heroine becomes captive of a lion-like beast-man); “Bear Hugs” (bear shapeshifter under a curse). An excerpt from “Virgin Blood” is below.

Hope you enjoy this interview with romance author Charlene Namdhari:


Interview with Charlene Namdhari:

What inspired you to begin writing?

I still can’t believe I’ve published a book. So, I have to get used to the idea of being called an author. To answer the question though, English and Art were my two favorite subjects in school. In English it was the literature and comprehension and in Art it was drawing. I guess the creativity and love for writing essays in school combined itself to make try my hand at writing.

What genres do you work in?

Steamy Romance

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

A bit of both actually. It all depends on my mood, the storyline, and when characters take on a life of their own and then dictate the twist and turns in a story.

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

My absolute favorite series growing up was Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. When I got older I moved to the Perry Mason cases. Each time I read a book I would imagine myself writing a scene or coming up with silly changes in the storyline. And when I was introduced to sweet romances, I wanted to create my own book boyfriend. I guess all this had an impact on my desire to write.

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

Undercover Affection released in May 2019 and features a tough cop and a sexy billionaire. My current WIP will hopefully release sometime soon.

Has your background in law affected your fiction?

Not really. Fiction is escapism, something people need to escape reality filled with crime riddled streets. The last thing someone needs is the dictates of actual law. Obviously a far stretch of the truth may be questioned.

What kind of research did you do for DAREDEVIL’S MISTRESS?

I’ve never been to the USA let alone on an actual ranch so I needed to research certain words and way of life on a ranch.

What are you working on now?

Book 2 of the Fire and Ice series.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t procrastinate, believe in yourself, and write, write, write, everything else will fall into place

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



Some Books I’ve Read Lately:

EYE SPY, by Mercedes Lackey. I’ve been a fan of Lackey’s Valdemar series for a long time. The most recent sub-series, set in the early years of the Heralds’ Collegium as we know it in the chronologically later novels, focuses on Mags, an enslaved orphan who becomes a Herald and eventually the King’s Spy. EYE SPY and the previous novel, THE HILLS HAVE SPIES, star Mags’s children (who aren’t Heralds), as they follow in his footsteps by helping him deal with mysteries and crises that threaten the realm. The protagonist of EYE SPY, his daughter Abidela (Abi) discovers that she has a unique Gift, sensing stresses and strains in inanimate objects. This ability surfaces in a dramatic manner in the first chapter, when she realizes a bridge is about to collapse just in time to save many lives. As a result, Abi gets a much-coveted spot in the Artificers’ training college, where she finds out she enjoys math and has a flare for design and construction. While continuing her close friendship with the King’s daughter, Abi makes new friends among her classmates, as well as a bitter enemy whose influence pops up later in the story. The narrative time-skips past much of her classroom education to the point when she begins her Master Work, the design of a bridge to replace the destroyed one. Having proven herself, she joins an expedition to visit and help towns in a region that’s considering whether to request annexation by Valdemar. The narrative structure is rather episodic. Until the climactic events of the final challenge, each incident could almost stand alone, although some details provide connecting threads among the events. This novel constitutes, more than anything else, the story of Abi’s coming-of-age.

FIRE AND BLOOD, by George R. R. Martin. Set about 300 years before the “Song of Ice and Fire” saga, this book is a prequel, sort of. Not exactly, because FIRE AND BLOOD isn’t written as a novel but in the form of a history text. It begins with the career of Aegon the Conqueror, founder of the Targaryen dynasty, and his rise to power over the Seven Kingdoms. The book covers roughly the first half of the Targaryens’ domination, with a second volume to come (presumably to end with the fall of their dynasty shortly before GAME OF THRONES). Like a history text, the narrative consists more of “telling” than “showing,” although it does contain some dialogue passages and dramatized scenes. The Archmaester who recounts these events, like a real-world historian, identifies his sources, evaluates their reliability, and highlights episodes where historical memories and records contradict each other. There’s no shortage of scandalous and gory incidents. Even the longest, most peaceful reign in the covered period suffers its share of upheaval. The volume includes a list of rulers (with dates measured from the Conquest) and a family tree. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the book, written in a lively style that makes it almost as captivating (to a fan of Martin’s work, at least) as the novels, I confess to being confused at some points by the complex history. There are two other features I wish it contained: First, maps. Why aren’t there any maps? Second, a timeline of events, especially considering the huge cast of characters, many with the same or similar names (like real-life nobility and royalty, but they’re still confusing). Both of these items would help readers find their way again when they get lost in the story’s complexity. FIRE AND BLOOD, of course, is meant for fans of the main series; anyone unfamiliar with “A Song of Ice and Fire” would be lost from the beginning.

THE LADY’S GUIDE TO CELESTIAL MECHANICS, by Olivia Waite. This unusual historical romance, set in 1816, stars Miss Lucy Muchelney, whose astronomer father has recently died. A passionate devotee of the science herself, she had been doing most of his calculations during his last few years of life. Her artist brother thinks of her interest as a mere hobby that she, as a woman, can never do anything serious with, and he even suggests selling her telescope. Lucy receives a letter from the widow of one of her father’s correspondents, Catherine St. Day, Countess Moth, whose late husband was a famous globe-traveling astronomer. Catherine wants, if possible, to hire a protege of Lucy’s father to translate a French astronomical and mathematical treatise Catherine’s husband was scheduled to work on. Lucy travels to the Countess’s home in person to propose herself for the job. Impressed by the fact that Lucy had been doing much of the work attributed to her father, Catherine agrees to the proposition, but will the all-male Polite Science Society accept a female translator? Not surprisingly, they laugh at Lucy, so Catherine decides to finance the publication of Lucy’s proposed translation herself. Meanwhile, Lucy, although she’s heartbroken by the recent marriage of her female best friend and lover, finds herself attracted to Catherine. The slightly older Countess, at last free from her cold, domineering husband, discovers she has romantic feelings for Lucy, despite never having had a relationship with a woman before. Catherine is helped to recognize her newly awakened sexuality by the realization that her honorary “aunt,” her late mother’s dearest friend, was actually her mother’s lover. The text alludes several times to the fact that two men in the same position would be in actual danger, because male homosexual activity is a felony at this time. Since there’s no law against lesbianism, female lovers have no such problem as long as they remain discreet. (Though the novel doesn’t mention this fact, in the nineteenth century lavish expressions of affection between female friends were common enough that the polite fiction of “just dear friends” would have been easy to maintain.) The novel, however, deals realistically with the interpersonal problems generated by the differences in age, social status, and wealth between the two women, as well as the delicate situation of Catherine as Lucy’s financial patron in the translation project. The position of women in the sciences at that period is explored, with emphasis on the erasure from the public record of those educated, accomplished women who did exist. There’s also a black man from the Caribbean in the Society, whose presence highlights the position of people of color in intellectual circles in nineteenth-century Britain, much better than in the United States but still not equal in status to white men. Another entertaining feature of the story is the portrayal of Lucy’s difficulties and quandaries in translating the French text. Should she keep her version as literal as possible or expand upon the original to make it more accessible to non-specialist readers? The Society’s eventual meeting with the French author reveals a delightful surprise (delightful for the reader if not for the Society membership). Lucy and Catherine impress me as believable, likable characters, and this is an intelligent, engaging novel. I’ll probably keep a lookout for the second installment of Waite’s “Feminine Pursuits” romances.

A DOG’S PURPOSE, by W. Bruce Cameron. After watching the film of this bestseller, I read the novel almost immediately and found it interesting to note the changes from book to movie. As you may know, the story follows a dog through several reincarnations as he seeks the purpose for his existence through relationships with his various owners. (If you have a strong objection to spoilers, skip to the end of this paragraph, but I’m giving merely an outline of what you’d pretty much expect from reading a blurb for the book.) He’s first born to a stray, feral mother. After a short life ending in euthanasia, he is reborn in a puppy mill, almost dies of heatstroke in a car, and gets rescued by the mother of a boy named Ethan. Named Bailey, the dog has a long, happy life with his beloved boy. Next, “he” becomes a female German Shepherd who serves as a K-9 police dog. In the final life narrated in the novel, he spends a short time with an indifferent owner whose husband takes the dog into the countryside and abandons him. At last, he finds his way back to the place where he’d spent so many happy times with his boy and rediscovers Ethan, now a lonely, middle-aged man living on his late grandparents’ farm. The dog, now called Buddy, brings happiness back into Ethan’s life. The dog-narrator remembers all his lives, so things he learns in earlier incarnations enable him to help people along the way. The story is unashamedly sentimental, yet realistic in displaying the author’s careful research into the way dogs experience the world. The movie, while also narrated by the dog, includes direct exposure to the human characters’ viewpoints, which in the book we receive only as filtered through the dog’s often imperfect comprehension of what’s going on. The adaptation changes some plot elements, but not enough to alter the essentials of the story. For example, the dog’s first life is significantly shortened in the movie compared to the novel. The film makes the second half of his / her incarnation as a police dog into an entirely new life, in which the dog belongs to characters with the same names as those in the book but otherwise different. Finally, the movie has a more upbeat ending than the novel, though both are satisfying. Essentially, this story is BLACK BEAUTY with a dog instead of a horse. In both, the animal hero spends a long period of his early life with a loving owner from whom he gets separated, undergoes good and bad experiences with a variety of masters, and at last regains happiness with his beloved humans.


Excerpt from “Virgin Blood”:

Mother Selene didn’t linger. It had been years since she had made any pretense that she and her ward got pleasure from each other’s company. Still, as Rapunzel fetched the empty baskets from the previous visit, she almost wished she could think of a topic to detain her guardian for a few minutes. Talking to the witch would be more interesting than talking to herself or the sparrows she sometime lured to the window with crumbs.

After giving her a cool kiss on the cheek, Mother Selene spoke the words that transformed Rapunzel’s hair once again into a shimmering net of gold. She descended to the ground, reversed the magic, and got into her waiting carriage, drawn by a single horse. A word of command, with no need for a hand on the reins, spurred the animal into motion. Rapunzel watched until the carriage disappeared into the woods.

Tired from her role in the ceremony, even though it drained only a few drops of her blood, she hung her ritual gown in the wardrobe and lay down, naked, on the bed. The breeze from the open window caressed her flesh, still warm from the magical energies. Her palms grazed her nipples, then stroked down over her chest and stomach to her thighs. She let her eyes drift shut.

Abruptly a voice broke into her half-dreaming state. “Rapunzel, Rapunzel!”

Her eyes snapped open. “Mother Selene?” No, the witch would have no reason to return. And the voice was a stranger’s. A deep voice that reverberated through Rapunzel like the peal of a huge bell.

“Who’s there?” she whispered. No one else ever came near the tower.

The voice called her again. “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, answer me!”

She snatched her dressing gown from a chair by the bed and shrugged into it. She rushed to the window and looked down.

A tall, cloaked figure stood there, taller even than the witch, who towered over Rapunzel. It pushed back the hood of the cloak and stared up at her. Its eyes gleamed in the moonlight.

A man!

He flashed a smile. “Lovely Rapunzel, let me come up to you.”

“How do you know my name?” she called down.

“I overheard the witch speaking to you. May I come up?”

She wrapped her arms around herself. “You can’t, unless you have magic like hers. Do you?”

“Not exactly, but I can reach your window if you’re willing. You have to invite me.”

Mother Selene’s warnings raced through her mind. The outside world was not safe for young women. Rapunzel was cloistered here for her own protection. Men, especially, were little more than wild beasts on two legs. On the other side of the question, a flutter in the pit of Rapunzel’s stomach argued in the man’s favor. She told herself the excitement came from meeting someone new after all this time. She would risk any number of phantom hazards for a few hours of conversation with this stranger.

“Very well, I invite you. Come in.”

The man spread his cloak. It swirled around him like a windblown cloud. A second later, it shrank inward, and his body with it. Human limbs became wings. A huge, ghost-white owl soared up and flew in circles just outside the window.

Rapunzel’s breath caught in her throat. She backed away, one hand pressed to her mouth, the other to her pounding heart. The bird swooped in through the open shutters. It expanded to a column of dark mist, then shifted to man-shape.

-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