Archive for November, 2022

Welcome to the November 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

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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!

My lighthearted ghost novella “Spooky Tutti Frutti” was included in Cherie Colyer’s “Something Spooky This Way Comes” blog feature in honor of Halloween:
Something Spooky

On November 2, the Wild Rose Press published another of my former Ellora’s Cave erotic paranormal romance novellas, “Merry Twinness.” On Christmas Eve, the heroine learns her fiancé has kept a vital secret from her—he has an identical twin. But that’s not the real shock. . . . There’s an excerpt below.
Merry Twinness

This month’s interviewee, Annette Miller, is a paranormal romance author who has a Christmas Cookies story with me in the Wild Rose Press anthology A HINT OF VANIILLA.


Interview with Annette Miller:

What inspired you to begin writing?

I always loved telling stories, even when I was a child. Books always enthralled me, and my parents even gave me a small typewriter on Christmas. So I guess I was always inspired to start writing.

What genres do you work in?

I write in contemporary paranormal romance both sweet and steamy. I have an idea for a YA series, and yes, it will also be paranormal. It’s kind of my jam.

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

I do something in between. I write summaries of the chapters in a notebook and expand from there.

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

Major influences on my work have been ghost stories, fairy tales, anything supernatural. We live in the real world every day. I like bringing the fantastic to life.

Please tell us about your Angel Haven series. And what kinds of powers do the characters have?

My Angel Haven series was born from a superhero role playing game my husband and I used to play. We started with gaming and then I got to thinking about what would happen if these two characters got together? Superheroes are fun to write about because there are so many different ways to cause them problems. There are wizards, mythical beings, cyborgs, and of course, superheroes. The heroines are all part of the Angels team. I can’t tell you about the hero in my 5th book. It would ruin the surprise.

What inspired your Christmas Cookies story “Macaroons by Moonlight” (which appears in the anthology A HINT OF VANILLA as well as a stand-alone e-book)?

Macaroons by Moonlight was born almost instantly. When the topic for the new series came up, I knew the characters, the story, everything just popped in my mind. I have to give a shoutout to Rhonda Penders at The Wild Rose Press. When I told her I was better at eating cookies than baking them, she said I could use that in the story, and I did.

What is your latest or next-forthcoming book?

My latest book is A Spirited Romance. It was just released on September 26. It’s a sweet paranormal romance set in the same little town as Macaroons by Moonlight.
I thought it would be fun to write a ghost story, and what better than a matchmaking ghost. I got inspiration for this story from ghostly TV shows and Celtic folklore. I have a novella coming out on April 3, 2023 in the Jelly Beans and Spring Things series.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on the 6th book in my Angel Haven series. This one has aliens and one of my favorite tropes, cop and the criminal she’s hunting fall in love.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

My advice to aspiring writers is to learn all you can about the craft and don’t worry if you don’t have a fancy degree in anything. I only have a high school diploma but I’ve won awards. Basically, just absorb all the knowledge you can.

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

My website is Annette Miller.
Twitter: @AngelHavenR
Instagram: annettemillerauthor


Some Books I’ve Read Lately:

PUTTING THE FACT IN FANTASY, edited by Dan Koboldt. The essays in this anthology, contributed by over thirty different specialists, explore a wide range of subjects writers of fantasy may need to know about in order to make their fictional settings feel authentic. The foreword emphasizes the importance of getting the mundane background right. Readers will accept the wildest flights of fantasy if they’re grounded in a world that works believably. If geography, climate, physical abilities of normal animals and human characters, etc. conform to known facts, such phenomena as unicorns, dragons, elves, and magic are more likely to win acceptance. Conversely, if errors appear in details supposedly faithful to how things work in the real world, the audience won’t trust the author enough to suspend disbelief in the fantastic elements. The introduction, titled “How to Ask an Expert,” offers practical advice on getting help from people with firsthand knowledge and experience. This book aims to help authors avoid errors in portrayal of environments, social structures, animals, weapons, etc. that will jar the reader out of the imaginary world. The anthology is divided into six parts, covering the broad areas of actual history as inspiration, languages and culture, world-building (e.g., money, food and drink, plants, ecology, politics, among other topics), weapons and warfare, horses, and wilderness adventure. Each category includes a wide range of sub-topics (aside from the horse section, which is more tightly focused). Entertaining as well as useful, the book could be picked up and sampled in any order. The contents tend to consist of short, quick reads. Therein lies its one drawback. Most of the essays comprise broad introductions to their topics. Some contain suggestions for further reading, but many don’t. On the other end of the scale, some contributions list highly specific content such as popular myths about horses, fascinating material but touching on only one aspect of a wide field. Still, PUTTING THE FACT IN FANTASY, although subtitled “Expert advice to bring authenticity to your fantasy writing,” includes information that could benefit authors in almost any genre. If nothing else, it’s a fun read that may spark ideas for adding depth to the physical and social environment of your story. Non-writers, too, can enjoy it simply for its entertainment value.

ETERNALLY YOURS, by Patrice Caldwell. An anthology of original paranormal romance stories. Caldwell’s introduction consists mainly of a captivating personal essay about her lifelong fascination with monsters. This book includes numerous BIPOC authors and LBGTQ+ characters, reflecting the contemporary broad scope of fantasy and the paranormal. I was mildly surprised to find only two vampire stories—Melissa Cruz’s “Once Upon a Time in Charleston,” in her Blue Bloods series, and “Pierce My Soul,” by Kat Cho—plus a vampire-like character in “Undead Ghoul Meet-Cute,” by Kendare Blake. Other stories feature a variety of different creatures—among them, angels, demons, merfolk, the Sea Witch, an allegedly cursed girl called an asura, and a pair of teenage lovers who’ve been reincarnated many times over the centuries. One especially striking tale, “Katrine and Rowan’s Exit Interview,” by Sarah Gailey, recreates the myth of Circe amid an island community of women. Fans seeking innovative stories of supernatural love among human and nonhuman characters won’t want to miss this book.

ORDINARY MONSTERS, by J. M. Miro. A monumental (660 pages long) work for lovers of Victorian horror. The first chapter begins on a freight train in the English countryside in 1874. Soon afterward, the scene shifts to 1882, which remains the period of the main action but with several substantive flashbacks to the 1870s. Like the sprawling novels of the nineteenth century, this book features a huge cast of characters, some displaying Dickensian eccentricity, in chapters and sections with intriguingly Gothic titles such as “The Thing on the Cobblestone Stair,” “Monsters in the Fog,” “The Study of the Impossible,” “The Girl Who Was Seen,” and “The Vanishing of Jacob Marber.” Marlowe, the baby found by a runaway servant girl in the opening scene on the train, sometimes shines with a blue glow and can heal or destroy with his power. Charlie, in 1882 a teenager suffering a brutal life in Mississippi, heals from any injury without a scar, but the damage and the healing still hurt. Alice Quicke, a freelance detective formerly with the Pinkerton agency, tracks down these two children to escort them to a refuge for “Talents” with paranormal abilities. The mansion in Scotland where the residents, ranging from young children through teenagers, are trained in mastery of their gifts adds another layer of Gothic atmosphere. Its head, Dr. Berghast, genuinely cares about his young charges, but he has an overriding agenda of his own. The combination orphanage and school guards a portal to a shadowy realm where memories and the dead dwell. A quasi-undead predator called a drughr has seduced the antagonist, a former student named Jacob Marber, into a symbiotic union. Flashbacks to Tokyo in the 1870s reveal how Jacob changed from a trusted disciple into a deadly enemy. Eventually Dr. Berghast decides he must recruit Charlie and Marlowe to cross over into the other dimension in order to save the school and perhaps the human world. Meanwhile, some of their new friends, including a girl with the gift of becoming invisible, set out on a related quest of their own. There’s also a protective spirit in the form of a cat (usually), with which Alice forms a bond. These details only skim the surface of the complex, multi-layered, riveting plot. The characters in the ensemble cast are all fully developed, evoking the reader’s sympathy as well as genuine sadness for those who fall in battle, as some inevitably do. A fascinating historical dark fantasy, not quite like anything else I’ve read.

THE GOLDEN ENCLAVES, by Naomi Novik. Since this is the final volume in the Scholomance trilogy, discussing it inevitably involves spoilers for the second book. At the end of THE LAST GRADUATE, El (short for Galadriel) achieves the unprecedented feat of getting the entire student body through the deadly exit battle alive—with one exception. Just as she cuts the portal to the Scholomance off from the real world and launches the school into the void, Orion, her boyfriend, sacrifices himself to save her and the rest of the class. Involuntarily leaving him behind, El instantaneously returns to her home like all the other graduates. Safe back in the hippie-style commune where her pacifist healer mother welcomes and cares for her, El plots how to reenter the Scholomance and rescue Orion whether he wants saving or not. She has to persuade her close friends and allies from school to help her; she also visits several high-status enclaves in an attempt to form alliances. Rivalry to the point of paranoia pervades interactions among the elite families of the enclaves, but El recognizes the futility and danger of maintaining that system. She travels to enclaves all over the world, confronting the most powerful magical clans. The “Golden Enclaves” refer to her dream of establishing communities where the non-elite can practice their magic in safe, non-toxic environments. She meets Orion’s family and uncovers shocking secrets about his origin and true nature. Her infiltration of the decaying remnants of the Scholomance with her friends and the aftermath when Orion, deeply scarred by the experience, has been restored to the outside world enthralled me. How can Orion be liberated from the burden he has carried his entire life? The book doesn’t have an unmixed happy ending, which would be unrealistic, but it does conclude the trilogy in a satisfying and optimistic way.


Excerpt from “Merry Twinness”:

“Time for the special gift.” He plucked a tiny box wrapped in red foil from under the tree. “Wait,” he repeated when she reached for it. “Before you open this and answer the question that goes with it, I have something important to tell you. Or more like show you.”

His hesitant tone and the apprehension in his eyes chilled her. “So you do have a dire secret?” She didn’t quite succeed in keeping her voice light.

“I hope you won’t think it’s too dire. But it will come as a shock.” He set the box on the couch and clasped both of her hands in his. “Please don’t freak out.”

Footsteps muffled by the carpet sounded in the adjacent dining room. The door leading to it opened. A man stepped through, took three paces toward the fireplace, and halted. Nicole blinked up at him, at first too stunned to process what she saw.

Cal’s double.

Except that he wore a University of Maryland sweatshirt instead of a pullover sweater with a white shirt and Christmas necktie, he looked identical to her lover. No, not quite—the mane that grew to just below his ears was less tousled than Cal’s but a bit shaggier, as if overdue for a barber visit. The clothes and hair, though, didn’t negate her first impression. She couldn’t doubt his identity.

She sprang to her feet. “You have a twin brother? And you never told me?”

“I don’t exactly have a twin. I am twins.”

-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