Yep, that Michael Berlyn. This was published in 1980, so it was pre-Infocom. Judging by the information online, not…many people have read it. Supposedly the plot concerns a device that mankind was created that grants the owner an immortality of sorts, so they turn to killing for pleasure. Probably wouldn’t have guessed that from the cover, huh?
Crystal Phoenix sounds more like something I’d see on Home Shopping Network than a thriller about an immortal killing spree. One wonders what role the title played in this book being read by what may be very few people?
My writing professor told me that on more than one occasion she has shipped off her final drafts only to have the publisher change her books’ titles, and in some cases, the author’s name. (Yes, that’s right — for one of her books, they changed the author’s name to a male pseudonym, based on the fact that sci-fi written by women sells less copies.)
Many woman use their initials to hide their gender: D.C. Fontana, C.J. Cherryh, CL Moore, J.K Rowling and so on. The secret doesn’t last long once they’ve achieved success but, with so many female authors doing this, it’s obviously a successful strategy.