INTO THE DEVIL’S UNDERGROUND with Stacy Green

Thanks so much for letting me stop by Manic Readers to talk about my new release, INTO THE DEVIL’S UNDERGROUND.

The book was originally published as Into the Dark in 2012 by MuseItUp Publishing, and I received the rights back this spring. I’ve grown a lot as a writer, and I knew there were thing about the plot and characters that needed to be fixed. So I contacted my amazing editor, Annetta Ribken, and told her to tear the book apart. The end result is about 20,000 new words, a much tighter plot, and stronger characters.

One of the biggest changes is the romance between main characters Nathan and Emilie. While it existed in the original book, it needed more. And I don’t mean more sexy time, but more development. Instead of sort of randomly falling for each other, Nathan and Emilie have an intense connection right from the start, because Nathan trades himself for a hostage. He knows Emilie is the target for the one of the masked robbers, and because Nathan is kept separated from her, I had to rely on nonverbal communication between the two of them. That was a challenge, but it made for a much stronger relationship.

Here is one of my favorite new scenes between Nathan and Emilie, as Nathan is trying to judge her captor’s state of mind and let Emilie know he’s there to save her:

“What about you?” Midway to the phone, Nathan stopped, pointing to the partner. “Don’t you want to know what he’s planning? This concerns you too.”

He heard Emilie’s breath hitch and was close enough to see nerves flush her pale face. She stared at Nathan, but he kept his attention on the other man.

“He knows he screwed me.” Joe nudged the barrel of the gun in Nathan’s side. “He lost his right to an opinion.”

“You agree with that?” Nathan wished he could see the man’s eyes well enough to read them.

A muffled sigh came through the facemask. “He’s right. It’s best I stay here.”

“Right there?” Nathan asked. “Seems to me it would be easier to watch the hostages if you were in between them. Or at least had them all where you could see them. Emilie’s blocking your view of the others.”

She shivered. The man seemed to swell in his black clothes, chest expanding, arms tightening the way a man’s do before they take a swing. “Don’t you have a phone call to make?”

Joe dug the gun deeper into Nathan’s side. “He does. Get on with it.”

Nathan should. But the ferocity of the partner’s body language and the desperation on Emilie’s sweating face pushed Nathan to the edge, where risks can pay off or cause massive tragedy.
“You know, SWAT thinks she’s in on this with you.”

“What?” Emilie’s voice cracked from nonuse. “I’m not. I don’t know this man.”

“I believe you,” Nathan said. “But I’m just telling him, his choosing to focus on you instead of all the hostages makes the cops think you’ve helped plan this whole thing.”

“What your people think is irrelevant. They’re too small-minded(hyphenate) to look beyond the obvious.” The partner cocked his head, rounding his shoulders.

“Maybe they are,” Nathan said. His gaze flickered to Emilie and then back to the masked man. “But I’m not.”

“Who gives a shit if they think she’s involved?” Joe said. “Maybe that’ll work to our advantage.”

“Don’t count on it.”

“Why?” Joe demanded.

“Because she’s not in danger. So all his attention on her works against you.” Nathan prayed this didn’t backfire on him. “They see you as less of a threat. And since you’re kind of the odd man out, SWAT thinks you’re not the person they need to talk to. Looks like these two are sitting back letting you do the dirty work, and they’ve probably got a separate plan.”

“I don’t have a plan,” Emilie burst out.

“Shut up.” Joe pulled his arm back and stepped toward her, but the partner shot to his feet like an electrical jolt had struck him.

Tall and strong, leaner and better dressed than Joe, he raised his own gun. “No more violence. Let’s get the call made and get out of here.”

Nathan caught a ripple of an accent but couldn’t place it. Emilie stood, her legs wobbling. She pitched forward, and Nathan caught her by the arm. She seized his forearm, her fingernails digging into his skin, her grip so tight he felt her pulse pounding in her wrist. He finally saw her eyes–they were a deep green, a pretty contrast to her fair, freckled skin and auburn hair.
They shined with panic. He squeezed her arm, hoping she could stay calm.

The partner yanked her out of Nathan’s grasp so hard Emilie teetered on her heels and then slammed into the teller counter. Mollie cried out and moved toward her, but Emilie waved her off.

Into the Devil’s Underground is available now!
tacy green

 
Born in Indiana and raised in Iowa, Stacy Green earned degrees in journalism and sociology from Drake University. After a successful advertising career, Stacy became a proud stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. Now a full-time author, Stacy juggles her time between her demanding characters and supportive family. She loves reading, cooking, and the occasional gardening excursion. Stacy lives in Marion, Iowa with her husband Rob, their daughter Grace, and the family’s three obnoxious but lovable canine children.

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SKELETONS KEY with Stacy Green

Many thanks to Ivy for having me back on Manic Readers! It’s one of my favorite blogs to visit. I’m excited to bring you SKELETON’S KEY, the second book in the Delta Crossroads Series.

Ironwood Plantation is at the heart of the book. It brings characters Cage Foster and Dani Evans together, and it represents their mutual journey to becoming whole.

The house is also my own special creation. I’ve always loved old homes, and plantations hold a special place in my heart. To me, an old home is like a living entity. When I walk into one, I can feel its energy, as if all the lives that were led inside the walls are collectively welcoming me. That may sound corny, but it’s the truth.

Ironwood’s exterior is based on Malmaison Plantation, a historical home in Greenwood, Mississippi that burned down in the 1940s. The inside is all my own: the dual staircase, the grand ballroom, the French tile in the foyer, the butler’s pantry, and of course, the secret passage everyone is so desperate to find. Does it contain the legendary Ironwood cache? Or something infinitely more significant? You’ll have to read to find out. 🙂

I loved every minute of writing this book, but creating Ironwood will always stand out. When I close my eyes, I can see the house as though I’d really walked its halls. I hope you will, too.

An excerpt from SKELETON’S KEY, available in print and all digital formats.

Ducking her head to see beneath the oak’s drooping branches, Dani turned into the drive. Glimpses of dirty white railing partially hidden by rosebushes had her clenching the steering wheel with anticipation. The path wound slightly to the left, around the big tree, and Ironwood emerged.

Pictures hadn’t done her justice. The mansion’s wooded exterior was gray and faded, the balconies sagging dangerously in places. Its four front columns were cracked, its iron railings rusting, and the widow’s peak had lost part of its outboards.

But she was still beautiful, like a weathered grandmother who’d seen more of life than most could comprehend. The grand home’s front was a five bay structure, its centerpiece a two-story portico with four perfectly spaced Greek pillars. An exquisite bracketed cornice marked the roofline, and while several of the Italianate brackets were missing, their craftsmanship was still visible on the remaining pieces. Standing guard over the house was a widow’s walk with a balcony that circled a small cupola. Additional porticos marked the east and west sides of the house.

Dani closed her eyes and imagined the house’s mistress standing on the walk, waiting for her son to come home from the Civil War. Her summer dress would be lightweight, but hoops and underskirts would have added several pounds to her frame. Her hair might have hung in pin curls or been done up in a more stately but ornate knot. A delicate white handkerchief etched with precise stitching – probably flowers – would be crushed in her hand as she prayed for her son’s safe return from the war.

That son would have been John James Laurent, and he did return from the war. He and his father kept Ironwood afloat during the Reconstruction, and the plantation employed free blacks for decades, running a modest but successful cotton crop until sometime during the Great Depression. Ironwood had been slowly sinking into quiet despair since. The once grand home was no more than a shadow of its former glory.

Moisture dripped onto Dani’s lip. She flushed, hastily wiping the tears away. Old homes had always held a special power over her, but the plantations were a force she couldn’t explain. It was as if the last remnants of a forgotten way of life desperately grasped for survival. For someone to remember. To save them.

She would save Ironwood.

Born in Indiana and raised in Iowa, Stacy Green earned degrees in journalism and sociology from Drake University. After a successful advertising career, Stacy became a proud stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. Now a full-time author, Stacy juggles her time between her demanding characters and supportive family. She loves reading, cooking, and the occasional gardening excursion. Stacy lives in Marion, Iowa with her husband Rob, their daughter Grace, and the family’s three obnoxious but lovable canine children.

Website     Amazon Author Page       Facebook Stacy Green, Author

Twitter @StacyGreen26

TIN GOD with Stacy Green

I have a confession: Kentucky is the farthest south I’ve been. I’ve never seen any of the plantations the Delta Crossroads Series describes, felt the smothering heat or smelled the sweet magnolias.

So why on earth did I set the series in the South? In 1985, when I was eight years old, I watched a miniseries with my parents. The series was North and South, featuring Patrick Swayze as Orry Main. It follows two men, Orry and George, (Orry from South Carolina and George from Pennsylvania), as they attend West Point, become close friends, and then weather their differences through the Civil War.

I fell in love with the history, the way of life, the speech, and the plantations. The horrors of slavery aside, the antebellum south cultivated a lifestyle unlike any other and in some ways, the southern states still have a very different way of life. Even better, they’re proud of their cultural differences.

 

North and South jump-started my love for history, and when I came up with the idea for TIN GOD, I knew the book’s religious undertones meant it needed to be set in the Bible Belt.  Mississippi immediately stood out. Littered with key points in American history, the state has several plantations, and many are operating as bed and breakfasts. More important is the historic town of Natchez, a place loaded with antebellum homes. Roselea, the setting for TIN GOD, is modeled after Natchez.

By creating Roselea, a town full of historical homes and busy tourists, it was easy to juxtaposition Jaymee, my heroine, as she struggles with poverty and her desperation to find the daughter she believes was stolen from her.

TIN GOD and the Delta Crossroads Series are set in the south because the mystique of the history and the haunting beauty of the plantations creates the perfect atmosphere for the mystery. Terrible things can still happen in safe, sleepy towns, and Roselea is the quintessential historic town full of nasty secrets.

 

My review of TIN GOD for those who may be interested

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About the author

Born in Indiana and raised in Iowa, Stacy Green earned degrees in journalism and sociology from Drake University. After a successful advertising career, Stacy became a proud stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. Now a full-time author, Stacy juggles her time between her demanding characters and supportive family. She loves reading, cooking, and the occasional gardening excursion. Stacy lives in Marion, Iowa with her husband Rob, their daughter Grace, and the family’s three obnoxious but lovable canine children.

Website

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Stacy Green, Author

Twitter @StacyGreen26

Stacy Green with INTO THE DARK charity raffle and gift card giveaway

Thank you so much to Ivy for inviting me to guest on her blog today. I’m excited to meet her followers and talk fiction with you all.

Strong female characters are so talked about in fiction and movies these days they are almost cliché. When I first created my heroine, Emilie, I wasn’t thinking about making her strong or resilient or tough. I just wanted to write a character I related with–a heroine I could cheer for.

There’s no magic formula for great characters. Something within us just clicks, and we form an attachment to the great ones.

So there’s Emilie, trapped in this horrible situation with a masked man who’s got a personal agenda that involves her. She’s a survivor, so she fights to stay alive, even if that means playing the bad guy’s game. Her bravery wins her a temporary respite from her stalker, but she’s got a big, red X on her back. And her past–the one she’s spent so many years running from–blindsides her. By the middle of the book, Emilie’s got every reason to crawl into shell and hide. But she doesn’t. She faces her tormentors head on and in the process realizes the key to her survival is in the past.

Emilie is a character that took a long time to truly take form. In early drafts of the book, she was an unlikeable, angry woman who didn’t trust anyone. I didn’t even like her, and there were times I seriously considered dropping the novel because I couldn’t get Emilie right.

But when I finally stopped trying to write her as the “perfect female character,” the real Emilie emerged. She took on a life of her own on the page and became someone I would support in the real world. She’s a loyal friend, a compassionate person, and wise enough to know what battles to pick and which ones to simply walk away from.

Emilie is a heroine I’m happy to call my own, and I hope you love her as much as I do.

 

A Gift From Stacy 

To celebrate the release of INTO THE DARK, Stacy is giving you TWO ways to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Both options will get your name into the drawing, which runs from November 5th until the end of my blog tour on January 30th.

Entry Option 1: Earns FIVE entries in the contest. Email Stacy your receipt of purchase (simply copy and paste proof of the order into the email, excluding personal information) of INTO THE DARK or the answer to this question: in what state was the Taker born and raised?

Entry Option 2: Earns TWO entries in the Contest. Donate to HELP of Southern Nevada and help the homeless. Readers can go to HELP of Southern Nevada, the organization that aids the homeless featured in INTO THE DARK, and donate. Email Stacy the receipt (personal information excluded). No donation is too small!

Enter the INTO THE DARK Charity Raffle!

The homeless living in the storm drains of Las Vegas played a vital part in INTO THE DARK, and I want to give back. From November 1st until February 28th, participants will have several options to enter the raffle, including donating to HELP of Southern Nevada. The grand prize will be a $100 donation from me in the winner’s name to the homeless shelter of their choice.

 

An Excerpt from INTO THE DARK:

“I’ll never escape him.” The taste of salty tears landed on her upper lip. This would be the rest of her life until he chose to end it. Emilie was nothing but a pawn in his sick game.

She caught sight of herself in the driver’s window: a pale, thin face with dark circles underneath wide, frightened eyes. Cheeks soaked with tears and lips trembling in defeat.

Why didn’t the Taker just get it over with? He could snatch her now if he wanted to. She was alone in the parking lot. But no, he would rather toy with her, manipulating her until he’d grown bored.

She couldn’t live like this anymore. Nathan was foolish to think there was any chance of catching the Taker, and Emilie was stupid to believe she and Nathan had any real shot at a future. That would be snatched away before they had a chance to begin.

Emilie glared at her reflection. Her face scrunched as a fresh onslaught of tears started. You weak bitch. She smacked her hands against the window. Standing out here crying like a goddamned, simpering damsel in distress. You’re just going to curl up in a ball and let the Taker win, just like you did with Evan. Nothing has changed. 

Not this time, little coward. She stepped back and mopped off her face. You’re going to stand up for yourself instead of letting the bad guy walk all over you. You’re not giving up. Not this time.

 

Pre-Order Into The Dark, and it will be available on all digital formats and in paperback via Amazon and Barnes and Noble on November 30th.

 

WELCOME TO LAS VEGAS, a short story featuring the perils of the Las Vegas storm drains. Contains an exclusive excerpt from INTO THE DARK.

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Stacy Green is fascinated by the workings of the criminal mind and explores true crime on her popular Thriller Thursday posts at her blog, Turning the Page.

After earning her degree in journalism, Stacy worked in advertising before becoming a stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. She rediscovered her love of writing and wrote several articles for Women’s Edition Magazine of Cedar Rapids, profiling local businesses, before penning her first novel. Her debut novel, INTO THE DARK, is set in Las Vegas and features a heroine on the edge of disaster, a tormented villain, and the city’s infamous storm drains that house hundreds of homeless. INTO THE DARK is available on all digital formats and paperback November 30th.

www.stacygreen.net
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