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Crystal Green
Crystal Green

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CRYSTAL GREEN'S PRESS KIT

What is the Jensen Murphy, Ghost for Hire series about?

The first book, Only the Good Die Young, is about a ghost, Jensen Murphy, who has been caught in a time loop where she’s been experiencing her death over and over again. Unfortunately, since Jensen was murdered, her death was violent, and she’s blocked out the identity of the maniac who ended her life. Enter Amanda Lee Minter, a psychic/medium who pulls her out of this time loop for a good purpose—to help solve a modern killing. In fact, Amanda Lee hopes that Jensen will be able to haunt a confession out of the man who may or may not be guilty, and then they can start solving Jensen’s crime…

The dominos for this series were set in motion at a lunch during the 2011 World Fantasy Con. A private, profound story from Deborah J. Ross was the first domino, and it connected to the next one while Linda Thomas-Sundstrom and I were on our way back to the workshops, exchanging thoughts about what we’d heard from our friend. The next one fell as we moved onto chatting about true crime books, in particular the excellent The Cases That Haunt Us by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker. I told Linda about the stories in it—profiles of the Jon Benet Ramsey, OJ Simpson, Jack the Ripper cases, among others—and then Linda referred back to the title of the book. “People like [a certain possibly guilty suspect] should be haunted,” she said. Bam! “What if there was a ghost who worked for an agency that tried to scare confessions out of people?” I blurted out. Linda and I laughed, and from that point on, Jensen Murphy started talking to me in her ‘80s, dead-girl, justice-seeking ghost voice.

The second book, Another One Bites the Dust, (November 4, 2014), will continue Jensen’s fledgling career as a ghost detective who only wants to help people, but there’s something that wants to haunt her, too. The third book, Every Breath You Take, comes out April 7, 2015.

 

What’s the deal with The She Code?

A while ago, I wanted to write a chick lit book. The She Code came close to selling, but it never quite made it, part of the reason was because of the artwork involved with this story about a 22-year-old straight out of college and in pursuit of a career as a comic book penciler.

Fast forward to years later, after the digital revolution came about. Suddenly, self-publishing books that never quite found a home was possible. I polished up The She Code, decided to publish it under my Chris Marie Green name, but decided that the story wouldn’t be the same if I changed the timeframe, from the early 2000s (when the comic book industry was a bit different) to now. I also kept in the artwork since it adds a different layer to the story, and I hired the fabulous Billy Martinez to do the final art.

There are also three shorter works that are loosely connected to The She Code, using the “rules” of girl survival to inspire each novelette or novella. Yes Girl, Roommate from Hell, and Best Friend Ever are also available on Amazon, along with The She Code. The She Code is now available on Audible, too!

As far as the category for this book goes... Well, you could say it’s new adult, since the story deals a lot with the struggle of Mandy Halsey as she tries to find her place in the world. But it’s also got that “lighter side of angst” chick lit feel to it. I’m also calling it something a little different—“geek lit.” After you read it, you’ll understand why...especially if you’re a geek like me.

 

Why is there a pen name change for the Bloodlands series?

The series will be published in mass market format rather than trade, and the books are going to be labeled under a different sub-genre (post-apocalyptic western fantasy)—hence, the change.  I do understand that there’s a very real possibility of confusion with the introduction of a new name, and I’m sorry for that.  Either way, I hope you all enjoy the series!
 

What is the Bloodlands series?

You could call it a “paranormal Shane meets Mad Max” for the first book.  The second and third ones open up from the post-apocalyptic west to more of the urbanized areas, and you’ll meet a bunch of new characters (and creatures).  The first book in particular has a mystery in it (think Agatha Christie!), as well as lots of adventure and mayhem. 

I got the idea for this postapocalptic supernatural Western while watching a lot of old cowboy movies.  I’d just about internalized the tropes—the gun-slinging drifter who’s looking for redemption and a return to humanity, the feisty yet put-upon settlers, the cruel rancher next door.  Since my mind is more or less always on monsters or creepy creatures of some sort, I started wondering what would’ve happened had Shane been a vampire.

From that point on, I was twisting those old Western tropes into paranormal shapes.  (My main character, Gabriel, doesn’t sling a gun, but he does have fangs, and he is literally lacking humanity because he’s a vampire.  The settlers are survivalists who have fled the urban hubs out of utter terror and preservation.  You get the picture.

This series is limited to Bloodlands, Blood Rules, and In Blood We Trust.

 

What's going on with Vampire Babylon and coming releases in the series?

NIGHT RISING, MIDNIGHT REIGN, BREAK OF DAWN, A DROP OF RED, THE PATH OF RAZORS, and DEEP IN THE WOODS are all available in trade and mass market formats. A Vampire Babylon short story entitled “Soul Stains” appeared in the March 2011 occult detectives anthology entitled Those Who Fight Monsters.  It takes place after the events in Deep in the Woods.  (You can look on www.chrismariegreen.com, Facebook,  and Twitter for any and all updates!) 

The Vampire Babylon series uses trilogy arcs to tell one basic story, much like the way JK Rowling used seven books that didn’t solve every plot thread book-by-book to tell Harry Potter’s story.  While each individual novel focuses on a central mystery that’s solved by the end, the three books together build character and mythology arcs/mysteries until everything culminates in the third books of the trilogies. 

The first trilogy is known as the “Hollywood trilogy.”  It contains these books:

NIGHT RISING
MIDNIGHT REIGN
BREAK OF DAWN

(A novella, “Double the Bite,” in an anthology titled First Blood is available, and it’s best read here, after Break of Dawn.)

The second trilogy continues the adventures of Dawn Madison and the vampire hunting team, and this three-book arc is known as the “London trilogy.”  It consists of:

A DROP OF RED
THE PATH OF RAZORS
DEEP IN THE WOODS

(“Soul Stains” in the Those Who Fight Monsters anthology is best read here, after Deep in the Woods.)

The series does continue after “Soul Stains.” At this point, I’ve written two Vampire Babylon novellas that are available on Amazon e-book and in print. ("Raising the Darkness" and "In Bad Spirits"). I’ve compiled “Soul Stains,” “Raising the Darkness,” and “In Bad Spirits” into a collection called Monster Hunters.

Another spin-off novella is in the Kicking It anthology, but since the story, “The Girl with No Name” is about someone who is finding her identity, I can’t tell you whom it’s about, but regular VB readers will recognize the character. I’ve written a novel about her, too! Shadows Till Sunrise is currently available in a few forms: ebooks, print, and in a paranormal romance box set named Seductive Supernaturals!

For updates, you can subscribe to the Vampire Babylon newsletter or keep up with me on Twitter and Facebook!

 

How did the Ace Vampire Babylon (formerly Vampire Underground) series come about?  

I wanted to write a longer vampire book, and I had an idea about a stuntwoman on the career skids who finds out that her estranged father has gone missing in L.A. During her search for him, she comes across a strange paranormal investigative agency and this eventually leads to an erotically charged vamp underground. My Berkley editor is calling it "noir fantasy-mystery," and that gets my motor revved, LOL. I love the "noir" part, especially.
 

When will the next Huntress book come out (Silhouette Bombshell)?

Tricky question.  The Bombshell line closed in January, 2007, so there's no chance of a release there. I'll never say never about resurrecting the Camille Howard stories in the future though.
 

Did you write any more Bombshells?

Yes. I did a murder-mystery in October, 2006, called Baited, and it's about an Everywoman-a surfer who works as a fake "pearl diver" at a fictional San Diego water park. She doesn't have any huge action-woman skills, so she's a different sort of Bombshell heroine. She really has to dig deep inside to use her strengths in order to survive and outwit a murderer who's wreaking havoc on an island where her party has crashed. Unfortunately, her fellow survivors are the possibly disinherited heirs of the heroine's dying friend and mentor, so it all becomes very Agatha Christie meets Friday the Thirteenth (the first-and best-one, of course, because that movie was essentially a graphic whodunit.). But that's the end of any Bombshells since the line closed in January, 2007.
 

Will there be any more Kane's Crossing books (Silhouette Special Edition)?

I'm afraid not. The series is going to stay at five books because Silhouette wanted me to explore other story ideas that I will continue to write within that line.
 

Are you still writing as Crystal Green?

Yes! I just had a new hot romance series, Rough and Tumble, released from Berkley InterMix Digital First. If digital sales are good, there’s a chance it could go to actual print. Fingers crossed!

 

Where do you get your ideas?

I usually get an idea for a character (sometimes from a movie, sometimes from a real- life situation), then decide what kind of "co-star" would give him or her the most trouble. That's where the plot develops-from their conflict.
 

I want to write a book. How should I go about it?

Just do it. Make writing a priority and don't make excuses for your lack of time. If you feel your pages are terrible (and you probably will), rework them. Nothing is written in stone. Then send out your material; if no one reads it, you won't get it published. Also, attend conferences and writers' meetings in order to network. Check into the RWA site at www.rwanational.com. They'll teach you the tricks of business and craft.
 

Do you recommend any books about writing?

Debra Dixon's Goal, Motivation, and Conflict contains excellent advice about setting up a character's core situation. The exercises will strengthen your plot as well as your characters. Also, Christopher Vogler's The Writer's Journey (based on Joseph Campbell's The Hero's Journey) is great. After getting down the idea, you'll be able to write a synopsis easily.
 

How did you get into writing professionally?

I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. In my early days, I loved being read to, loved hearing the flow of words. My favorite first book was Little Mommy. I memorized that sucker from opening to closing. I guess I enjoyed the sound of the rhyming narrative. I progressed from there, getting addicted to historical romance in middle school, writing my Superman and Indiana Jones stories. After high school, I started writing my own historical romance. It was awful, but a real good time. It broke every rule, I think, because I sent my heroine on this crazy 1853 New Orleans adventure and she was (eh-hem) interested in more than one hero. Very Jennifer Wilde. Anyway, that book is hidden away now, though it did prompt me to attend the San Diego State University Conference. That, in turn, led to my meeting Judy Duarte , then Sheri WhiteFeather, then joining Romance Writers of America® . The organization taught me the business of writing; I don't think I'd be a romance author without their support. Oddly enough, I write contemporary stories now, though I still love those historicals.
 

Do I need a critique group?

That's up to you. I've found that my group (Sheri WhiteFeather and Judy Duarte) is an invaluable support system. They've also helped me grow in this field. However, I've heard it said that critique groups can tear down a person's confidence if the members don't know how to critique constructively.
 

How do you define constructive criticism?

Always mention a positive to balance the negative. Phrase suggestions as suggestions, not demands. Use smiley faces or other psychological tricks to encourage your partners. Decide if your comments will help the manuscript in the big picture, or if they're based on personal biases. These are simple points, but easy to forget.
 

Who do you read for inspiration?

I've got strange reading habits. When I'm not in my "rough draft" writing phase of a book, I'm into at least four books at one time. I have a "purse book" to consume my time when I'm standing in lines or getting my car washed, etc. That one's usually written by a friend. The other three books vary: mainly a historical romance (love 'em!), a contemporary (to check out the market), then either a classic, or something that will teach me more about writing or new experiences. I follow authors like Stephen King because he really stretches the limits of language and descriptions. Larry McMurty writes quirky characters whose inner and spoken dialogues reveal a lot about them. And I like Donna Tartt's themes and how they tie into plot and characterization. Then there's Suzanne Brockmann, whose pacing is a roller coaster of action and emotion.  

When I'm in the "rough draft" writing phase of one of my books, I like to read selections that help my research or inspire me creatively. I usually talk about how this works on my blog page.

 

Are there any workshops that you give for conferences or local chapters?

I have a few (“From a Small Texas Town to a Colony on Mars: World Building,” “The Lengths We Go To: Writing Short and Long,” and “Who’s Your Baddy?” about villains), but my favorite one is called "Pied-Piping the Muse." It's based on the Mozart Effect and on a method of story building that I used during creative writing time in the classroom. Basically, I utilize musical selections to lead the attendees through exercises that get them into a deep brainstorming zone. The feedback has been great so far, and I always love to see what the writers come up with. It's amazing.

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