Throwback Thursday with Margaret L. Carter
I owe my first fiction publication to the great science fiction writer and editor Marion Zimmer Bradley, creator of the planet Darkover and author of MISTS OF AVALON. She edited numerous volumes of Darkover stories as well as an anthology series called “Sword and Sorceress.” My story “Her Own Blood” in FREE AMAZONS OF DARKOVER (1985), one of MZB’s earliest anthologies, wasn’t the first thing I’d ever had published. Previously, in the early 1970s, I’d edited two paperback horror anthologies (CURSE OF THE UNDEAD and DEMON LOVERS AND STRANGE SEDUCTIONS) and had a nonfiction book, SHADOW OF A SHADE: A SURVEY OF VAMPIRISM IN LITERATURE, released by an obscure small press. “Her Own Blood,” however, was my first professionally published fiction at any length.
My experience in getting this story written and accepted involved a large measure of luck (or maybe Providence). When MZB sent out the call for submissions for FREE AMAZONS OF DARKOVER, her letter to me had the wrong ZIP code on the envelope. Somehow it took the Post Office about two months to reroute the letter to the capital of Maryland (which shouldn’t have been that hard to find, one would think!). By the time I received the letter, which came as a total surprise, the deadline was only a few weeks away. Nevertheless, I was so excited at being included in the call for submissions that I felt I had to whip up something, no matter how remote my chances of acceptance.
Since I’ve always been fascinated by the Ugly Duckling archetype—the character suffering from what looks like a handicap that turns out to be a gift—I decided to write about a girl who learns the truth of her birth as the nedestra (illegitimate) daughter of the local lord. As a result, she has inherited a laran (psychic gift) that makes her terribly sensitive to the pain of any nearby living creature. When she discovers this apparent curse gives her a latent talent for healing, she decides to join the Free Amazons rather than live in luxury in the lord’s household—thus tying the plot into the theme of the anthology. I was astonished as well as thrilled when MZB accepted this story, the first of many she bought from me.
Thanks to the Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust, you can buy “Her Own Blood” (as well as dozens of other stories from the anthologies, by many different authors) as a stand-alone e-book:
My husband, Leslie Roy Carter, and I had one collaborative story in another Darkover anthology, TOWERS OF DARKOVER. Together we’ve had a fantasy trilogy published, of which he is the primary author. In 2013 a prequel to the trilogy, LEGACY OF MAGIC, was released, which can be read on its own. Unlike most of the people in her country, Merina doesn’t admire sorcerers and want to become one. She detests magic because she thinks it ruined her mother’s life. When Merina’s fiancé announces his plan to get trained as a healer sorcerer, her world turns upside down:
About the Author
Margaret L. Carter specializes in vampires, having been marked for life by reading DRACULA at the age of twelve. Her vampire novel DARK CHANGELING won an Eppie Award in the horror category in 2000. Other creatures she writes about include werewolves, dragons, ghosts, and Lovecraftian entities with tentacles. In addition to her horror, fantasy, and paranormal romance fiction, she has had several nonfiction books and articles published on the supernatural in literature. With her husband, retired Navy Captain Leslie Roy Carter, she has collaborated on a sword-and-sorcery trilogy, beginning with WILD SORCERESS. Her recent works include LEGACY OF MAGIC (a prequel to the trilogy), PASSION IN THE BLOOD (a vampire romance), “Bear Hugs” (an erotic romance shapeshifter novella), and SEALING THE DARK PORTAL (a paranormal romance with Lovecraftian elements). Explore love among the monsters at her website, Carter's Crypt: http://www.margaretlcarter.com.