Guest Blogger: Chris Marie Green
The winner of Chris's book is: Swing Club! Congratulations to you! Send me your snail mail info, and I'll pass it along! Thanks to everyone who participated.
A huge thanks to Lynda for inviting me here today!
I’ll be giving away a copy of an anthology entitled FIRST BLOOD; it contains novellas from Susan Sizemore, Erin McCarthy, and Meljean Brook, as well as one based on my own Vampire Babylon series, which features a hunter named Dawn Madison who carries around quite a few personal and paranormal issues. Unfortunately, one of those issues involves an estranged father who went missing in Hollywood, and Dawn, an ex-stunt woman, has come back to town to find out what happened to him. What she discovers sends her into a tailspin: he disappeared during an assignment for a paranormal “firm,” and as she and his co-workers (including a “little person” actor named Kiko and a “lab rat” former actress named Breisi Montoya) track down clues that lead to dear old dad, Dawn finds out a whole lot more about her family—and vampires—than she ever wanted to know.
Now…on to the blogging!
Oftentimes, people ask me how much research is involved with writing the paranormal, but before I can answer, they laugh and say, “Wait—you can just make things up!”
Well, not always. Sure, there’s lots of fantasizing when it comes to world building, but since Vampire Babylon is an urban fantasy series, it’s necessary to ground the readers, making them think that, whoa, there really might be vampires or other preternatural creatures walking amongst us.
So aside from armchair research about setting, jobs, and characteristics of vampires, how does a person do research for a paranormal book?
I, myself, love firsthand fact-and-fantasy digging. I even went to London a little over a year ago to scout locations for books four through six of the Vampire Babylon series. (Isn’t my job the worst?
It started with a bus ride beyond Canal Street to a location that the touring company wouldn’t reveal. When we arrived at a rundown street-corner joint that you wouldn’t look twice at, I was more worried about the dogs barking in the neighborhood than the house itself. Under the watch of a security guard, the staff separated us into “hunting teams” and still refused to tell us anything about the building because they wanted us to go in without preconceptions. Cool enough, and when they handed us our “hunting tools,” that’s when I started to geek out a bit.
I’m going to allow Kiko, the psychic vamp hunter from Vampire Babylon, describe just what that equipment was. (After all, I ended up using it for a scene in NIGHT RISING, Book One, which is being reissued in mass market format on January 27, 2009…PLUG!): “Tools of the trade. Ms. Montoya is using a thermo-anemometer, a temperature gauge. She’s taking the base reading of the room right now so we’ll get a foundation for comparison as she tests different parts of the house for deviations in temperature. Ms. Madison will be using a magnetometer, which searches for shifts in the electromagnetic field.”
(Thank you, Kiko.)
We were additionally assigned diving rods and then released into the house, which was just as decrepit inside as it was outside. It was also dark, necessitating the use of flashlights, but I think the tour people only wanted to creep us out.
And it worked. There were random, eerie things like old bathtubs that we measured with our tools while asking general questions to the air, lest there be ghosts around who’d answer us via the divining rods. There were spider webs and creaky floors, and those barking dogs outside didn’t get any quieter. We were being real live paranormal hunters, and settling into that frame of mind was, IMHO, a valuable experience because I could describe Dawn’s point of view as a normal person who’s thrust into a strange situation like this all the better.
It turned out that we had a woman on our team who claimed to be psychic. Now I’d call myself a skeptic who’s always willing to be convinced, but when she told us about her talents during the investigation, I was like, “Riiiiiight.” And when we arrived at the back of the house, near a slumping staircase, I wasn’t super impressed when she engaged in a Q&A with a female spirit. When that spirit gave way to another one—a baby—I chalked it up to the psychic’s excitement at being in a so-called haunted house.
We collected our magnetic field shifts and temperature statistics, then met everyone else outside, where the guides finally told us about the building. It’d served a number of purposes: a general store, a boarding house…even a domain of prostitution. Then they told us about some of the house’s stories.
And wouldn’t you know it—there was a woman who’d fallen down the back stairway and miscarried before she, too, passed on.
So…research. It can be a passive experience, or it can be its own little horror movie. Whatever form it comes in, I love me some of it.
Have any of you guys ever had a brush with the paranormal? If so, it’d be great to hear about it in the comment section, where one of you is going to win that copy of FIRST BLOOD….
Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the following book trailer for NIGHT RISING, which is out at the end of the month (PLUGs away!!!). Also, I’d love for you to visit my Web site at
Happy Hunting. : )
The winner of FIRST BLOOD will be posted here on Friday evening.