Friday, September 07, 2007
The Ultimate Bite by Crystal Green
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Crystal Green lives near Las Vegas, Nevada, where she writes Harlequin Blazes, Silhouette
Special Editions and vampire tales (Vampire Babylon under the name Chris Marie Green). She loves to read, overanalyze movies, practice yoga , travel and detail her obsessions on her
website, www.crystal-green.com. She particularly enjoys writing bad vamps who’re looking for redemption, just like Stephen, and if you check out her blog, you’ll find that Crystal has a lot in common with Kim….
Why did you become a writer? Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
I've always been a writer, really; it's part of my identity. When I was young, I would write strange stories about spring festivals that turned bad, but I would also write Indiana Jones and Superman stories--more action than romance, but there was always that "romantic element,"
just like in my Vampire Babylon books. Then, in middle school, I graduated to writing a soap opera about all my friends. I started getting more serious in college when I finished a historical romance that will never see the light of day; it was good practice but way too crazy, LOL.
What do you love about being an author? Is there anything you dislike?
I love when someone takes the time to contact me about enjoying a certain book or how that story struck a personal chord. That kind of contact is overwhelming and it drives me onward. Dislikes? I don't like the fact that I don't have enough time to do everything! There are too
many stories to write and promote, but not enough hours in the day.
How do you balance your personal and writing time?
I try to work an 8-hour day, but that doesn't always happen. I also tend to do business every day rather than taking time off. That's going to change--it's a personal goal for the year. So there isn't a very good balance right now, although I intend to take care of that.
How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?
It's a mix, really. I've had stories where the premise comes first and then the characters just weave themselves into that. I've also had characters "tell" me their tales, and I go from there. Character and story are so braided together that they're tough to separate. I usually build the world after I have a good idea of the plot.
What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
I'm a multi-genre author because I write so much during any given year that I need the variety. I do urban fantasy, action/adventure, erotic romance, and "home and hearth" with Special Edition--my first sale and my first home. Going from one to another keeps things fresh for me,
even though it makes marketing and "branding" myself that much tougher.
What is the biggest misconception about being an author?
That it's somehow "glamorous," LOL. Really, my life is just as basic as anyone elses, although I do get to go to conferences--and that means I get to travel. But I wear pajamas most of my working hours, and they're not from Victoria's Secret, either!
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
Both. Sometimes, I'll work in something I've observed on the street or from one of my friends, but with the exception of maybe one or two characters who were meant to be "inside jokes," I don't really base them on people I know. However, I do conduct research for characters to
ground them. For instance, I studied stuntwomen in order to depict Dawn Madison from NIGHT RISING. It was important to have her come off as realistic in a paranormal world.
Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
Tough one! I guess it's between three: Dawn Madison from my Vampire Babylon series, Katsu Espinoza from BAITED, or Camille Howard from THE HUNTRESS. I'll choose Dawn Madison since I'm still writing about her. She's a tough cookie but with a lot of vulnerability that she doesn't hide very well. And I like that she isn't out there hunting vampires because it's a calling--she's mostly trying to save her own sanity instead of trying to save the world. Also, I like seeing how a hunter is created. Dawn's showing me that.
If you were writing a script for the big screen, who would you want to act in your movie?
Timely question! I saw Missy Peregrym on HEROES and she struck me as being a Dawn Madison. She's probably too pretty for the role, but she's got the attitude for it. As for The Voice in the series? Keifer Sutherland would be awesome if he hadn't done PHONE BOOTH. Kiko and Breisi would have to be unknowns....
What would you want readers to take away from your books?
A sense of being entertained, but also an unsettling suspicion that there was something else going on beneath the action. I, myself, love to read a good tale that sticks with me, even if I can't quite put my finger on why it's lingering. I would hope that the characters might do that, too--they don't have to be "liked" as much as remembered.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
Yes--get a Writer's Market from the library and research what you're currently writing. Also, hone your craft. Do a Web search to seek out conferences where there are workshops and take the opportunity to network with attending editors, agents, and other authors. Form a community that will support you, too, because a solid base will hold you through all the times you'll doubt yourself. Lastly, just write, even on the days when you think you can't possibly produce anything decent. Chances are you'll surprise yourself.
Who are your favorite authors?
Stephen King, Donna Tartt, Maggie Osbourne, Poppy Z. Brite.... I admire their wordcrafting as well as their characterization.
What are you reading right now?
BLONDE by Joyce Carol Oates. It's about Marilyn Monroe. That's my main book, but I'm also reading WICKED GAMES by Alison Kent (she writes hot and emotional) and my comic books (like COUNTDOWN and WITCHBLADE). My reading habits reflect my writing, as you can tell. : )
ABOUT THE BOOK:
One dark, wild night a mysterious stranger seduced Kim Wight, transforming her into a woman who craved more of what only Stephen could give her. Now, a year later, she’s finally found him again. But Stephen’s not like the other men. He can’t get attached to any one woman. Still, he can’t resist sinking his teeth into her just one more time. Too bad Kim’s not going to let Stephen get away that easily….
Just after midnight, Kimberly Wight spotted the vampire.
She absolutely knew, without a doubt, what he was. First of all, a burst of severe blood loss cases had been reported this past month by young women who’d frequented this nightclub, Mystique, which was located in the Marrakech Casino just off the Strip. Kim didn’t have to put two and two together to reason that someone…something?…was sucking blood down at this place.
And second of all? Even though vampires were said to expertly blend into the populace—that’s how they survived—she recognized this one. Recognized him good and well because her life hadn’t been the same since he’d bitten her last year.
For a moment, Kim couldn’t move as she watched her nameless fantasy disappear into
the crowd on the dance floor, which was pulsing with colored lights that beat in time to the techno music. It was him—she knew it. Same shoulder-length, honey-hued hair tied back from the face of a dark angel. Same tall, muscle-lithe body dressed in a sharp, black, richly tailored suit and long coat.
Her body seized with heat and slight remembrance, just as it did every night when she clung to the erotic flashes of what he’d done to her. Or, at least, what she could recall of what he’d done; it was as if her brain had been made fuzzy, made unsure of what had gone on.
His whispers, summoning her to the shadows; his kisses, trailing over her forehead in tender invitation; his mouth, skimming down to her own lips as silent words stroked her mind, calming her and inviting her. And then the bite.
Heartbeat flickering in wild counterpoint to the throbbing music, Kim used her elbow to nudge the man who sat next to her at the bar—her coworker. She rose from her seat, her breathing getting heavier as she continued to track the vampire’s progress across the dance floor. Without losing focus, she jerked her head in the direction of a raised platform that boasted a line of white-veiled lounging beds. Patrons—dressed in cleavage-baring tops with European labels, young and drunk and careless—lounged over the silk pillows with fifteen-dollar cocktails in hand. Oblivious.
The veins in Kim’s neck strummed with the twangs of her gathering excitement. For the past year, The Bite had consumed her. It’d been the sexiest, freakiest, most wonderful thing that’d ever happened in all her twenty-nine years. It’d shown her what she was really all about, what had been lurking under the skin of a girl who’d been all too willing to settle.
It’d also given her the courage to ask questions about what she’d always believed to be true in this world—questions that had reared up after her sister was ripped from her life just before The Bite.
Kim reached back to grab her partner’s hand, pulling him through the dance floor’s throng of undulating bodies, parting the thick cologne of their sweat.
Have to catch up…
By now, her co-investigator from the League was yelling in her ear to battle the music. “What? You see something? What?”
Too intent on tracking, Kim avoided answering.
They jammed through the dancers, then climbed up the stairs leading to the platform that held the beds. The belled white veils, lit from above, created a frothy maze. Kim guided her partner down the puzzle of shrouded mattresses one by one.
The vampire’s breath on her neck, the ache between her legs banging with slick need, his fangs piercing, entering…
“Hey!” Her partner tugged her hand, halting her. They would have to shout to communicate. “What’s got you on fire?”
She turned around to face him, a slim guy in his young twenties who worked as a computer network specialist by day. They called him Powder, but it wasn’t because his skin was pale; it was because he loved skiing. The sport took up just as much of his passion as graphic-novel reading and vampire research.
“I saw one!” Kim said, her breathing thin. “We’re going after him!”
“Saw…one? Him? Who?” Powder’s brown eyes were wide. Unlike her, he’d never encountered a vampire before. None of her partners at the League had. They had no idea what awaited them.
She’d never told anyone everything about The Bite. Somehow, the thought of sharing every detail, every treasured personal emotion, devalued the experience. In this age of instant communication and Jerry Springer tell-all, keeping something so intimate to herself made the encounter much more powerful. Of course, Kim had initially shared a PG-version of her vampire meeting with the League—that’s how she’d gotten in—but anything beyond that seemed…profane.
It might take away the magic of that night, and she couldn’t deal with the loss.
“How do you know it’s a vampire?” Powder added, still pulling on her hand.
She pulled Powder right back, urging him to come with her already. “He’s the one I…met. The one. Come on.”
Powder no doubt recalled her tamed-down story: how this anonymous vamp had “almost bitten her” before he’d heard a sound, taken off and left her alone in the dark alley. Not quite the truth, but close enough for her comfort.
Furiously, Kim began flipping back the bed veils as they passed each one. Not here. Not there. Just a bunch of privileged kids making out and passing out from too much drink and drugs.
Where is he? Where could he have gone?
Powder’s grip tightened in hers, and Kim knew he was about to chicken out. Even though every person who volunteered their night hours to www.vanhelsingleague.com took turns patrolling the city, hoping to catch sight of a vamp one night, he was downright afraid. None of them had ever really believed they’d ever find one, had they? But the notion of earning major Geek Points had given each one of the five members incentive enough to patrol, whether they truly believed or not; a sighting would qualify them to post about their encounter on the Internet and gain their fifteen minutes of fame in the paranormal community.
And Kim knew about that kind of notoriety well enough since her own sighting had given her enough credibility to write a bi-weekly column. “The one who escaped”—that was what everybody who posted on the message boards called her, and they read her work with adoring glee.
The League’s main goal was to bring vamps into the mainstream, to prove the existence of the species. When Kim had joined them nine months ago, it’d made sense to associate with these people who wouldn’t laugh at what she’d experienced, people who would help her make sense of it all.
A support group who might be able to help her find him again.
But sometimes she wondered just how far the League’s dedication went. Was this just another odd club they belonged to, a fanboy pursuit as fun as their comic book conventions or the latest X-Men movie? If they truly knew what was out there, would they be brave enough to air their pirate radio broadcasts or maintain the Web site?
Or was it the fantasy that kept them going in life?
She didn’t know the answer, because sometimes she thought that’s what drove her: the fantasy of The Bite. The dream of reliving it. Ever since, she’d found nothing even close in her dating endeavors. No man matched up to The Bite; none could satisfy what the vampire had brought out in her. And she couldn’t help wondering if anyone ever would.
Frustrated now, she led Powder to the last bed, inspected the two kissing girls on it, then cursed. But when she moved past the last mattress, she stopped cold at what she saw in front of her. Her belly toppled, heartbeat slamming to a halt.
Next to her, Powder flinched, sucked in a breath. Then he laughed, pointing to the mirror where they were both gaping at their images.
“Oh, scary. Boo! Is this your vampire, Kim?”
Disbelief from one of her own. Great, that’s all she needed.
The only thing that stopped her from engaging in a verbal slapdown was the sight of her own face reflected back at her.
Sometimes she still didn’t recognize herself: from everyday average Kim, neighborhood bookstore clerk to this—a vamp. But not a blood-sucking creature of the night—The Bite hadn’t turned her in that way. Yet…she was certainly different. More confident, willing to try anything.
The luster of heightened self-esteem had come out in her physical appearance: her hair, fringed by bangs and worn long and straight down her back, was now a deep flame. It was almost as if the strands were screaming, calling out for the attention she’d never gotten before, and loving it. Her skin had always been redhead pale, but after The Bite, the freckles had disappeared, giving her a smooth, ivory polish. And her eyes, always a sheer blue, seemed more cat-like. Five years ago, back when she lived near her parents in Tennessee, they’d always called her their “elf” because of her delicate features. But now Kim thought she was more wicked creature than Santa’s helper.
All because of what’d happened.
How? she wondered again. And what am I now exactly?
At the questions, she urged Powder along, toward a light over a door that said “EXIT.” It was tucked in a corner, hidden and out-of-the-way. Perfect for a vampire’s departure.
“Hold up!” Her partner yanked her to a stop.
“What is it? Let’s go, Powder!”
Her co-investigator fumbled in a pocket, plucked out a small crucifix, then took out his cell phone, too. “I’m not going out there with just the two of us, even if you do have vamp experience. Haven’t you learned anything from horror movies? The audience would be screaming at you right now to wait for backup!”
“Come on! It’s not like we’re out to do some slaying—we just want a peek of him on video, or his voice on tape, if either of them will even record a vamp. We won’t piss him off enough to fight, honest!” Kim’s research into vampire lore indicated that the camera might not capture an image, but how did they know? It was worth a try. “That’s all we’re gonna do, Powder, stealth work.”
She kept her other agenda hidden. The search for another Bite.
By this time, her breasts had beaded, clearly outlined under her red tank top. Her clit had gone stiff, too, so she shifted. It rubbed against her jeans, giving her some measure of relief while exacerbating it. Slower, she shifted again, reveling in the sensation, wanting more and wondering if she’d get it.
Powder was already dialing the phone and aiming his slight body toward the restroom area, probably for some quiet. “Wait here, okay, Kim? Just wait.”
As he left, she merely smiled. The League rules demanded that, on patrol, they always stick with their wingman unless going in the restroom. “Just like in Top Gun,” their resident movie guru, Darlene, always said. “Maverick learned the hard way about leaving his partner.”
But this wasn’t some Hollywood flick. It was real, and if she didn’t start tracking again, her fantasy would disappear.
If he already hadn’t.
As Powder walked into the crowds, Kim tapped her booted foot, pretending to wait for him. But when he disappeared, she took off toward the “EXIT,” reaching into her pocket for the crucifix, just for insurance. She had no illusions about the danger of vampires—six recent severe blood loss cases at Mystique in the past month didn’t lie. Yet she also knew she had to do this. No doubts.
She slipped out the marked door, finding herself outside, enveloped in the June desert-night warmth. An empty painted white plaza spread out before her; on weekends, Mystique held concerts here, so there were folding chairs and bleachers facing a stage with no performer. The sight was somewhat eerie, like a rock-and-roll ghost town.
Why weren’t there any kids here making out in privacy? Hell, did anyone need privacy anymore, what, with those beds in the club and all?
Or had any takers just felt a niggling presence and left this area, shuddering, returning to the club’s safety?
Steadily, Kim walked forward, one hand still in her back pocket to touch the crucifix. With her other, she reached into her large bag, the strap slung across her chest. Her fingers brushed a Camcorder as she searched for her miniature tape recorder, then turned it on to capture any weird sounds.
Her heartbeat played tag with the muted thuds from the club music as she controlled her breathing. Sweat broke over her skin, tightening it just as evocatively as the lust riding her.
“Come out, come out, wherever you are,” she said under her breath. “Where did you go?”
In answer, the air rippled. Kim froze, heart in her throat.
A hushed whisper, strung along on a wordless stream, flowed over the warm breeze. Untranslatable except for the feeling of anticipation heating around her.
Kim slowly turned around to where she thought the sound had originated. All that faced her was the empty stage. Darkness lit only by the faint light of the moon.
Her heart kicked at her chest. Fear. But adrenalized stimulation was making her damp, too. Damp and ready from all those nights of wanting him to come back.
Come on over to me. Sink into me again. Persuade me that my sister Lori never suffered and that death is beautiful….
She took a step toward the stage, but another rippling sound caught her. The vibrations dug past her skin, making the hair on her arms stand up, sending shivers all over.
“Here…” A sound, low and compelling, a British accent lacing a word that seeped into her and drew her toward the bleachers. “Come here.”
And she did, approaching him with liquid willingness. No fear, none at all…well, maybe a little…but only enough to make the air sharpen in her lungs, the blood quicken in her veins.
The shadows of the metal bleachers fell over her in slatted darkness as she came to him, obeying because she wanted to.
The Ultimate Bite by Crystal Green
ISBN #: 0-373-79338-9
Publisher: Harlequin Blaze
Release Date: July, 2007
$4.99 from Amazon.com
Purchase The Ultimate Bite by Crystal Green HERE!!!