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Days of the Dead Blog Tour - How We Fell Apart by Gail Z. Martin



Days of the Dead Blog Tour - How We Fell Apart by Gail Z. Martin



How We Fall Apart

By Gail Z. Martin

Do we go out with a bang or a whimper?

In our near-future post-apocalyptic adventure series, Wasteland Marshals (co-written with Larry N. Martin), that's the key question.

Simultaneous nuclear strikes to the world's capitals set of a chain reaction of events that unmakes modern civilization. The governments are gone, financial markets have cratered, the power grid is unreliable, and the secondary effects of the nuclear strikes have drastically remade the world survivors face.

Lucas Maddox and Shane Collins are the last two US Marshals in the Pennsylvania/West Virginia/Maryland territory. Not only do they deal with troublesome humans, but they've also got their hands full with the supernatural creatures that have ventured out of the shadows with the retreat of technology. The survivors band together in different enclaves, and Shane and Lucas move from group to group, fending off highwaymen, opportunists, and the occasional werewolf and feral experimental robot.

We envisioned the Wasteland Marshals series as being 'Boondock Saints meets The Walking Dead." I love the tension between technology and magic. I'm intrigued by the ways people might respond to the collapse of civilization and how they could revive old ways of doing things. In Lucas and Shane's world, the people with the best survival skills included folks from Renaissance festivals, the Society for Creative Anachronism, the Amish, historical reinactors, living history museums, universities and libraries. Those groups are the bulwark of retaining modern knowledge and reviving low-tech ways for humanity to survive and rebuild.

I'm intrigued by the idea of what remains when we strip away our technology and modern conveniences, and how we rediscover and reinvent old ways enable us to rise from the ashes. I'm also interested in what cultural essentials we take with us--the myths and legends (TV shows, comics and pop culture), the key memories of the way things were 'Before' and the stories we choose after the world goes to hell, about who we were.

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with brand new guest blog posts, giveaways and more! You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Get all the details about my Days of the Dead blog tour at www.GailZMartin.com





Wasteland Marshals
Wasteland Marshals 1
Falstaff Books, July 2019
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 126 pages

Days of the Dead Blog Tour - How We Fell Apart by Gail Z. Martin
The world ended. Then things got tough.

Shane Collins and Lucas Maddox were US Marshals before. Before the world ended. Before civilization crumbled. Before Shane developed strange powers. Before there were monsters.

Now they’re still Marshals, but they ride through the wreckage of what once was the United States, helping the ragged groups of survivors they find survive against the challenges of a world gone insane, and the people who still want to exploit others. Because as long as there are people, there will be predators.

And as long as there are predators, there will be men and women who stand against them. Lucas and Shane are two of those men.

Wasteland Marshals launches a new post-apocalyptic fantasy series from Gail Z. & Larry N. Martin, who brought you Spells, Salt, & Steel.





About the Author

Days of the Dead Blog Tour - How We Fell Apart by Gail Z. Martin
Gail Z. Martin writes urban fantasy, epic fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, Falstaff Books, SOL Publishing and Darkwind Press. Urban fantasy series include Deadly Curiosities and the Night Vigil (Sons of Darkness). Epic fantasy series include Darkhurst, the Chronicles Of The Necromancer, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, and the Assassins of Landria. Newest titles include Inheritance, Vengeance, Convicts and Exiles, and Assassin’s Honor. Together with co-author Larry N. Martin, new books include Spells Salt and Steel: Season One, Night Moves (Spells Salt and Steel #5), Wasteland Marshals and Cauldron: A Joe Mack Shadow Council Archives Adventure. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance. Books include Witchbane, Badlands and Treasure Trail series.

Find her at www.GailZMartin.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on www.Facebook.comWinterKingdoms, at www.DisquietingVisions.com blog, on www.Pinterest.com/Gzmartin and on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin. She is also the organizer of the #HoldOnToTheLight campaign www.HoldOnToTheLight.com. Never miss out on the news and new releases—newsletter signup link http://eepurl.com/dd5XLj

The Hawthorn Moon Blog Tour - Supernatural Vigilantes by Gail Z. Martin


The Hawthorn Moon Blog Tour - Supernatural Vigilantes by Gail Z. Martin


Supernatural Vigilantes

By Gail Z. Martin

Lonely highways wind through dark forests filled with old secrets, hungry creatures, and the restless dead. In the towns and cities, demons, curses and deals with the devil mean a hunter’s work is never done.

In Sons of Darkness, the first book in my newest urban fantasy series, demon-hunting former priest Travis Dominick works with the misfit psychics of the Night Vigil to fight supernatural creatures and malicious paranormal activity. When a series of disappearances, suicides and vengeful spirits cause havoc and death along a remote interstate highway, Travis teams up with former special ops soldier and monster-hunter Brent Lawson to end the problem with extreme prejudice.

The Night Vigil series is set in Western Pennsylvania, an area full of legends, lore and mysterious monsters. It’s a state undercut by so many miles of coal mines, no one actually knows where the shafts all run. Tragedies haunt its history—mine disasters, railroad wrecks, legendary floods, industrial explosions, and battlefields from the three biggest wars fought on US soil. No wonder the dead can’t rest.

The next book in the series, C.H.A.R.O.N., comes out later this summer. CHARON is a secret government agency devoted to cleaning up supernatural problems and hiding the evidence. They’ve wanted Brent to join them for a long time, and he keeps slipping out of their grip. But when a new threat arises, one that might be of CHARON’s own making, can Travis and Brent fight the danger on their own terms, and still keep their freedom?

Meet the Night Vigil. The run-down convenience store, the all-night diner, the last-ditch shelter, or seedy motel, the redneck bar and the emergency room, and all the other places open on the graveyard shift—they’re Hell’s hunting grounds, full of easy marks and desperate souls, prey for evil things out there in the dark.

We keep the Vigil, looking for the ones who can still be saved, the ones who aren’t too far gone. We’re the misfits and the muck-ups, unwanted by Heaven or Hell, given one last chance to atone for all the mistakes and missed chances, the pain we’ve caused others and ourselves, the good things we were afraid to do, and the bad things we embraced with open arms. We work the night shift because that’s when evil walks. We’re the clerk in the all-night liquor store, the server in the 24-hour diner, the long-haul trucker who only drives at night, the counter person in the convenience store, the dog shift nurse. We recognize the evil when we see it, and we use the skills we honed with blood and fire to stop it, whatever it takes.

Unfinished business ties us to the mortal world, to make atonement, find absolution, satisfy retribution, get things right. You won’t find a sorrier group of halfway house heroes. No illusions left—about ourselves, humanity, or what’s really out there in the darkness. Just a purpose, to go down fighting the good fight. Because this is our last chance.

One final chance to make it right, the thin red line of humanity against the evil that goes bump in the night, your best hope to make it through the hour of the wolf.

Look for Sons of Darkness in ebook and paperback wherever online books are sold, and watch for CHARON, coming soon!





Sons of Darkness
A Night Vigil Novel 1
SOL Publishing, November 5, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 280 pages

The Hawthorn Moon Blog Tour - Supernatural Vigilantes by Gail Z. Martin
We are the Night Vigil.

The run-down convenience store, the all-night diner, the last-ditch shelter, or seedy motel, the redneck bar and the emergency room, and all the other places open on the graveyard shift—they’re Hell’s hunting grounds, full of easy marks and desperate souls, prey for evil things out there in the dark.

We keep the Vigil, looking for the ones who can still be saved, the ones who aren’t too far gone. We’re the misfits and the muck-ups, unwanted by Heaven or Hell, given one last chance to atone for all the mistakes and missed chances, the pain we’ve caused others and ourselves, the good things we were afraid to do, and the bad things we embraced with open arms. We work the night shift because that’s when evil walks. We’re the clerk in the all-night liquor store, the server in the 24-hour diner, the long-haul trucker who only drives at night, the counter person in the convenience store, the dog shift nurse. We recognize the evil when we see it, and we use the skills we honed with blood and fire to stop it, whatever it takes.

Unfinished business ties us to the mortal world, to make atonement, find absolution, satisfy retribution, get things right. You won’t find a sorrier group of halfway house heroes. No illusions left—about ourselves, humanity, or what’s really out there in the darkness. Just a purpose, to go down fighting the good fight. Because this is our last chance.

One final chance to make it right, the thin red line of humanity against the evil that goes bump in the night, your best hope to make it through the hour of the wolf

When a series of disappearances, suicides, and vengeful spirits cause havoc and death along a remote interstate highway, demon-hunting ex-priest Travis Dominick teams up with former special ops soldier and monster-hunter Brent Lawson to end the problem with extreme prejudice.





CHARON
A Night Vigil Novel 2

The Hawthorn Moon Blog Tour - Supernatural Vigilantes by Gail Z. Martin





About the Author

The Hawthorn Moon is the annual summer blog tour for Gail Z. Martin, and features guest blog posts, giveaways, surprises, excerpts and more on blogs worldwide. Find the master list of posts and goodies at www.GailZMartin.com


Bonus goodies!

Read a copy of my Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy short story Catspaw for free: https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/UAjd6 and check out my epic fantasy Ascendant Kingdoms short story Reconciling Memory here for free: https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/JQorl


Giveaway!

Enter for a chance to win a copy of The Splintered Crown and Convicts and Exiles http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9751c04221/?


The Hawthorn Moon Blog Tour - Supernatural Vigilantes by Gail Z. Martin
Gail Z. Martin
Gail Z. Martin writes urban fantasy, epic fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, Falstaff Books, SOL Publishing and Darkwind Press. Urban fantasy series include Deadly Curiosities and the Night Vigil (Sons of Darkness). Epic fantasy series include Darkhurst, the Chronicles Of The Necromancer, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, and the Assassins of Landria. Newest titles include Convicts and Exiles, Spells Salt and Steel Season One, Tangled Web, Vengeance, The Dark Road, Sons of Darkness, and Assassin’s Honor.

The Hawthorn Moon Blog Tour - Supernatural Vigilantes by Gail Z. Martin
Larry N. Martin
She is the co-author (with Larry N. Martin ) of the Spells, Salt, and Steel/New Templars series; the Steampunk series Iron & Blood; and a collection of short stories and novellas: The Storm & Fury Adventures set in the Iron & Blood universe. She is also the co-author of the upcoming Wasteland Marshals series and the Joe Mack Cauldron/Shadow Council series. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance. Series include Witchbane, Badlands, and Treasure Trail.


Join our Shadow Alliance street team so you never miss a new release! Get all the scoop first + giveaways + fun stuff! Also where I get my beta readers and Launch Team! https://www.facebook.com/groups/435812789942761


Find me at www.GailZMartin.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on www.Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at www.DisquietingVisions.com blog, on www.Pinterest.com/Gzmartin, on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin, and BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/gail-z-martin. I’m also the organizer of the #HoldOnToTheLight campaign www.HoldOnToTheLight.com. Never miss out on the news with my newsletter http://eepurl.com/dd5XLj.

Days of the Dead - Monsters and Mayhem in the Modern World by Gail Z. Martin


Days of the Dead  - Monsters and Mayhem in the Modern World by Gail Z. Martin

Monsters and Mayhem in the Modern World

By Gail Z. Martin

It’s been a busy year for saving the world, at least in our neck of the woods. Restless ghosts, renegade demons, and even a persnickety kelpie have threatened havoc, only to be dealt with by our unsung urban fantasy heroes. (You’re welcome.)

Days of the Dead  - Monsters and Mayhem in the Modern World by Gail Z. Martin
Tangled Web is the third Deadly Curiosities novel, and this time, Teag Logan is the target of an ancient evil. When a malicious weaver-witch awakens the spirit of an ancient Norse warlock and calls to the Wild Hunt, Cassidy, Teag, and Sorren—and all their supernatural allies—will need magic, cunning, and the help of a Viking demi-goddess to survive the battle and keep Charleston—and the whole East Coast—from becoming the prey of the Master of the Hunt.

I love revisiting the Deadly Curiosities gang in Charleston because the city and its history provides such a rich setting and so much legend and lore to build on. For me, creating believable modern-day mayhem begins with drawing inspiration from the ghost stories and history of the setting. Those tales stick around generation after generation because they resonate with us on a deep level. One of the most fun parts about writing, for me, is taking that existing history and legend and tweaking it, just a bit, to build a story.

Days of the Dead  - Monsters and Mayhem in the Modern World by Gail Z. Martin
Close Encounters is the fourth novella in the new Spells, Salt and Steel series, co-written with Larry N. Martin. Our mechanic and monster hunter hero, Mark Wojcik, has his hands full keeping his corner of Northwestern Pennsylvania cryptid-free. Over the course of the novellas, he’s fought off a Japanese monster armed only with a carp, taken out the ghost of a Nazi saboteur with a grenade launcher filled with holy water, gone mano-a-mano with the pissed off ghost of Mad Anthony Wayne, and helped his friend, Donny the defective werewolf, find true love.

Larry and I are from Northwestern Pennsylvania, so writing a series based on the haunts, tall tales and creepy stories we grew up with is all kinds of fun. I’ve also learned a lot about the area that I didn’t know, and it’s so exciting when research reveals the perfect plot twist or spooky location! The Spells, Salt and Steel series is comedic horror, a little different from my usual urban fantasy. That means our goal is to get you laughing, then take you into a dark basement and give you a good scare!

Days of the Dead  - Monsters and Mayhem in the Modern World by Gail Z. Martin
Sons of Darkness (coming in early November) is the first in my new Night Vigil series, set in and around Pittsburgh. Demon-hunting former priest Travis Dominick works with the misfit psychics of the Night Vigil to fight supernatural creatures and malicious paranormal activity. When a series of disappearances, suicides and vengeful spirits cause havoc and death along a remote interstate highway, Travis teams up with former special ops soldier and monster-hunter Brent Lawson to end the problem with extreme prejudice.

We lived in Pittsburgh for ten years, so the city remains a favorite with me. It’s an old city, so there’s a lot of history to hijack and twist for fictional purposes. Because it was a city of immigrants, there’s so much folklore that came across with the workers who then adapted it to their new home. It makes for very rich source material!

Find out about all the supernatural chaos that didn’t make the news because our intrepid heroes stopped it from happening! I’m already cooking up more havoc as I plan for next year’s crop of new books!


My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for my stories. You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Get all the details about my Days of the Dead blog tour here:

Book swag is the new Trick-or-Treat! All of my guest blog posts have links to free excerpts—follow the tour and grab them all! Enjoy this excerpt for Sons of Darkness!
https://www.ascendantkingdoms.com/books/sons-of-darkness/sons-of-darkness-excerpt/

Enter my Rafflecopter giveaway to win a Kindle Prize Package with a free copy EACH of — Tangled Web, Assassin’s Honor, Salvage Rat, The Dark Road and Sons of Darkness! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9751c04215/?

Let me give a shout-out for #HoldOnToTheLight 2018, back for more with new authors and fantastic new posts! 150+ genre authors blogging about their personal struggles with depression, PTSD, anxiety, suicide and self-harm, candid posts by some of your favorite authors on how mental health issues have impacted their lives and books. Read the stories, share the stories, change a life. Find out more at www.HoldOnToTheLight.com





About the Authors

Gail Z. Martin writes urban fantasy, epic fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, Falstaff Books, SOL Publishing and Darkwind Press. Urban fantasy series include Deadly Curiosities and the Night Vigil (Sons of Darkness). Epic fantasy series include Darkhurst, the Chronicles Of The Necromancer, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, and the Assassins of Landria. Newest titles include Tangled Web, Vengeance, The Dark Road, and Assassin’s Honor. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance. Books include Witchbane, Burn, Dark Rivers, Badlands and the upcoming Lucky Town.

Larry N. Martin is the author of the new sci-fi adventure novel Salvage Rat. He is the co-author (with Gail Z. Martin) of the Spells, Salt, and Steel/New Templars series; the Steampunk series Iron & Blood; and a collection of short stories and novellas: The Storm & Fury Adventures set in the Iron & Blood universe. He is also the co-author of the upcoming Wasteland Marshals series and the Cauldron/Secret Council series.

Find them at www.GailZMartin.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin and @LNMartinAuthor, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at www.DisquietingVisions.com blog, on www.Pinterest.com/Gzmartin and on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin. She is also the organizer of the #HoldOnToTheLight campaign www.HoldOnToTheLight.com Never miss out on the news and new releases—newsletter signup link http://eepurl.com/dd5XLj

When Writing Takes You Home by Gail Z. Martin


Please welcome Gail Z. Martin to The Qwillery as part of the Days of the Dead Blog Tour!



When Writing Takes You Home by Gail Z. Martin



When Writing Takes You Home

By Gail Z. Martin

What happens when your muse takes you back to places you’ve lived, or grown up in, as the setting for stories?

I write epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk. The epic fantasy is set in imagined medieval worlds, similar in technology and overall physical appearance to our own, but different in history, gods, magic, and supernatural creatures. My first urban fantasy series, Deadly Curiosities, is set in modern-day Charleston, SC. I love Charleston, but I’ve never lived there.

When Writing Takes You Home by Gail Z. Martin
The first series that took me home was Iron & Blood, which is co-written with my husband and writing partner, Larry N. Martin. Iron & Blood is set in an alternate history 1898 Pittsburgh, with plenty of airships and clockworks and explosions. We lived in Pittsburgh for ten years, and it’s an awesome city, but it’s also the logical epicenter of American steampunk, with all the steam-driven factories at that time. The Storm and Fury Adventures, which are ‘extra episodes’ in the Iron & Blood world, also take place in and around Pittsburgh.

When Writing Takes You Home by Gail Z. Martin
One of those Storm and Fury stories, Rogue, heads north and the action takes place in Butler, Meadville and Cambridge Springs, PA. I’m from Meadville, so it was fun setting the story there (including a battle with werewolves in the cemetery where my parents are buried). I learned a lot about local history, and gained a new appreciation of my hometown’s somewhat forgotten Victorian architecture and importance. (That section of PA was more important back in 1898 than it’s been since WWII.)

When Writing Takes You Home by Gail Z. Martin
Our new Spells, Salt, and Steel comedic horror series (also co-written with Larry), is set in Northwestern PA, that corner of Pennsylvania up by Lake Erie. Mark Wojcik, our monster hunter/mechanic is based just outside of Conneaut Lake, and in the first novella, he hunts a Japanese fish-eating monster in Linesville, the ghost of a Nazi sniper at an abandoned TNT plant in Geneva, a Mafia warlock in Meadville, and a weresquonk near Kane. (First line of the novella: “When all else fails, the ass end of a carp makes a damn fine weapon.”)

I’ve got a dark urban fantasy series also planned for modern-day Pittsburgh and environs, as well as a horror novel set in central Pennsylvania, near where I went to grad school at Penn State. A couple other new series will have incidents that take the characters into the wilds of PA (and if you’ve driven across I-80, there’s a lot of PA that is definitely wild).

It’s fun incorporating familiar landmarks in my stories, and weaving in some tidbits of overlooked history. Writing books in a setting is also a great excuse for road trips to that area, or extending visits to the family to incorporate scouting locations. While I grew up there, I’ve been gone a long time, and it’s nice to go and see something that is half-remembered from long ago, to make sure I get the details right.

Of course many of the locations that we use in the steampunk stories aren’t there anymore, or aren’t in their original condition. In that case, internet archives and historical associations become a fascinating resource (and time-sink). I’m often amazed at what I find, since just because you grew up in a place doesn’t mean you know everything about it. For example, I had forgotten Meadville’s role in the Underground Railroad, or that John Brown (of Harper’s Ferry fame) lived near there for many years. That got rolled into Rogue, albeit in an alternate history kind of way!

It’s also fun to have the chance to introduce readers to one of my favorite areas of the country and bring them in on the places, foods, expressions, history and landscape that means so much to me. If you’re from that area or familiar with it, I hope you’ll sense the authenticity. And if you’re new to the area, my hope is that the setting becomes an intrinsic part of the story, because I try to write the location as a character, a tale that couldn’t happen the same way anyplace else.


My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for my stories and for books by author friends of mine. You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Get all the details about my Days of the Dead blog tour here: http://www.ascendantkingdoms.com/2017/10/25/its-my-days-of-the-dead-blog-a-palooza/

Let me give a shout-out for #HoldOnToTheLight 2017, back for more with new authors and fantastic new posts! 130+ Sci-Fi/Fantasy authors blogging about their personal struggles with depression, PTSD, anxiety, suicide and self-harm, candid posts by some of your favorite authors on how mental health issues have impacted their lives and books. Read the stories, share the stories, change a life. Find out more at www.HoldOnToTheLight.com


Book Swag is the new Trick-or-Treat! All of my guest blog posts have links to free excerpts—grab them all!

Rafflecopter giveaway—enter for a chance to win a copy of Spells, Salt and Steel! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9751c0426/?

An excerpt from Rogue, from our Storm and Fury Adventures:
http://www.ascendantkingdoms.com/short-stories-and-more/the-storm-and-fury-adventures/rogue/excerpt-from-rogue/

An excerpt from my friend JD Blackwell’s The Tragic Tale of Abby Campbell here:
http://www.slipperywords.com/2017/10/the-tragic-tale-of-abby-campbell-part-1-for-the-october-frights-blog-hop/





Iron & Blood
A Jake Desmet Adventure 1
Solaris, July 7, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

When Writing Takes You Home by Gail Z. Martin
Adventure in New Pittsburgh...

New Pittsburgh, 1898 – a crucible of invention and intrigue. Born from the ashes of devastating fire, flood and earthquake, the city is ruled by the shadow government of The Oligarchy. In the swarming streets, people of a hundred nations drudge to feed the engines of progress, while in the abandoned tunnels beneath the city, supernatural creatures hide from the light, emerging only to feed.

Jake Desmet and Rick Brand travel the world to secure treasures and unusual items for the collections of wealthy patrons, accompanied by Jake’s cousin, Veronique LeClerque. But when their latest commission leads to Jake’s father’s murder, the three friends are drawn into a conspiracy where dark magic, industrial sabotage and the monsters that prey on the night will ultimately threaten not just New Pittsburgh, but the whole world.





Rogue
A Storm and Fury Adventure
DreamSpinner Communications, March 30, 2016
eBook, 107 pages

When Writing Takes You Home by Gail Z. Martin
A Steampunk novella set in the world of Iron & Blood: A Jake Desmet Adventure. Werewolves and a dark witch are leaving a wake of chaos, and Department of Supernatural Investigation agents Mitch Storm, Jacob Drangosavich, and Anna Corbett are sent to investigate. When the trail leads to a dangerous lost artifact, Mitch, Jacob and Anna know that the witch and his werewolf minions have a much bigger plan in mind, one which endangers New Pittsburgh and the world.





Spells, Salt, & Steel
A New Templars Novells
Falstaff Books, October 3, 2017
eBook, 116 pages

When Writing Takes You Home by Gail Z. Martin
When all else fails, the ass end of a carp makes a damn fine weapon.

No, that didn't come from the lips of Bubba the Monster Hunter, but it sure could have! That sentence right there kinda encapsulates the life of Mark Wojcik, Monster Hunter. A blue-collar mechanic from the wilds of PA, Mark likes his beer cold, his poker games private, and his monsters…well, he doesn’t like them at all. So when he finds himself dueling a Japanese mythical monster in the Linesville Spillway in the wee hours of the night, he has to use every available weapon to survive and vanquish the ningen.

Even if it means beating the damn thing to death with a carp.

If interloping Japanese fish-monsters weren’t bad enough, there’s a Nazi ghost terrorizing the community. Somebody needs to gank the ghostie, and Mark is the man for the job.

He hopes.

They are the first line of defense against the things that go bump in the night.
They are the keepers of a centuries-old legacy of The Church defending the world against the forces of darkness.
They are a bunch of highly armed rednecks, internet video celebrities, soccer moms, and assorted broken nutjobs.
They are the new Templars, and things are about to get weird.

The New Templars novella series is a new series of short novels, similar to BookShots. Spells, Salt, & Steel is the first in the series by popular steampunk, epic, and urban fantasy duo Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin.





A Haven Harbor Halloween
Jeanne P Adams/Golden Gryphon Press, September 26, 2017
eBook, 538 pages

When Writing Takes You Home by Gail Z. Martin
Welcome to Haven Harbor, Massachusetts where the real witches live! Founded witches who escaped the Salem Trials, Haven Harbor's modern facade still shields modern day witches. Sometimes Halloween ends up being scarier than Trick or Treat! Join us for a Haven Harbor Halloween! Four Stories of the Spookiest Season in Haven Harbor!

NYTimes Bestselling author Tawny Weber’s West Coast Karma Café meets East Coast’s Haven Harbor in Decadent Desires…
Bedtime bliss is on the menu when a guy used to fighting dragons has to awaken a beauty to the magic of sensual delights before the Halloween Ball. But can she accept the repercussions of magic and her duty to family? Or would it be easier to return to the sweet bliss of sleepy obliviousness where life is simple, love is a myth and magic is reserved for fairy tales?

USA Today Bestselling author Barbara Devlin returns to Haven Harbor with A Taste of Magick…
A starry-eyed girl, a cocky football jock, and peer pressure converge on one fateful night, leaving behind two broken hearts. Three years later, Russell Lee McBride returns to Haven Harbor, intent on righting the wrongs of his youth and winning pretty Cindy Parker. Can the two young sweethearts overcome the pain of the past to find true love?

Award winning author Gail Z. Martin presents Keepsakes, a fabulous new story in her Deadly Curiosities series…
When a surge in thefts of heirlooms with magical properties accompanies a sudden outbreak of violent attacks, Cassidy, Teag and Sorren race a dodgy stranger to discover the truth and tracethe missing keepsakes to a killer.

Jeanne Adams’ Haven Harbor series continues with After Midnight…
Too many tricks, not enough treats! Someone’s tracking Keira Danby and her deadly secrets have come to roost in Haven Harbor at Halloween. They’ve tampered with her car, tried to steal her briefcase and nearly ruined her business relationships in Haven Harbor. Now, sexy Jim Stansfield tells her she’s got water magic, and it’s dangerous. She doesn’t dare ask what else could go wrong…





About Gail

When Writing Takes You Home by Gail Z. Martin
Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books and Orbit Books. Vengeance: A Darkhurst novel, is the second in a new epic fantasy series for Solaris (coming April, 2018). Her Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC has a new novel, Vendetta, and a new collection, Trifles and Folly. Spells, Salt, and Steel is the first in another new urban fantasy series set in upstate Pennsylvania.

Other work includes the Chronicles Of The Necromancer series, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms series, the Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy series, and Iron & Blood (co-authored with Larry N. Martin)

Find her at www.GailZMartin.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com blog and on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin.

Gail Z. Martin on Monsters and Mayhem


Please welcome Gail Z. Martin to The Qwillery! Scourge, the first Darkhurst novel, will be published on July 11th by Solaris.



Gail Z. Martin on Monsters and Mayhem




Monsters and Mayhem

By Gail Z. Martin

Why should urban fantasy have all the fun?

I love monsters. When I was a kid, I remember sitting in my living room in the dark with a bowl of popcorn, scaring myself silly watching black and white reruns of Them, It Came From Outer Space, and all the Godzilla movies. I loved the Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, the Werewolf and all the famous movie monsters, and I watched every monster-oriented TV show I could find.

I’ve always loved folktales, myths and stories about terrifying beasts and cryptids. The Jersey Devil. The Mothman. Yeti and Sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster, black dogs and banshees and redcaps and all manner of monsters fascinate me. Whether they’re a created myth, like Slenderman, or something more organic, like tommyknockers, monsters capture my imagination.

My library is full of books about monsters. Yes, I use the books for research, but reading them is just plain fun. And as I read, I can’t help thinking about the right story for the right creature—how to make it all come together.

So when the chance to do a new series came up, it occurred to me that while I’d read a lot of urban fantasy books with monsters, I couldn’t remember many (if any) epic fantasy stories where the monsters were a main focus, not an incidental obstacle. The Darkhurst series was born (the working title was Monster Slayers of Darkhurst—I do agree that Scourge is better).

Why monsters? Because monsters are cool.

With Scourge, the monsters we encounter in the first book are beast-type monsters. I don’t want to give anything away, but there’s a method to the madness of why these types of monsters show up and not others. In the sequel, which I’m currently writing, we get to see a bigger variety of monsters and some that are more sentient and much more dangerous.

In Scourge, the monsters themselves aren’t evil, although their masters may be. The monsters are dangerous and cause a lot of death and harm, but they are creatures of magic and instinct, not true malice (though the same can’t be said for their masters). There’s a time and place for sentient, intentionally malicious monsters, and we’ll see more of that as the series progresses.

I liked playing with the concept of what makes a monster. In my Chronicles of the Necromancer series, Jonmarc Vahanian runs afoul of magicked monsters that kill his family, destroy his village and set him on the path to become a mercenary and smuggler. Monsters created and controlled by magic (and the monstrous people who do so) factor into several plot lines in that series.

In my Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy series, haunted and cursed objects are often the conduit that opens a gateway for supernatural monsters of many kinds to enter our world. And in the Iron & Blood Steampunk series (co-written with my husband, Larry N. Martin), monsters take on many forms, from clockwork zombies to vengeful ghosts to an ancient evil woken from the depths of the earth.

In the Ascendant Kingdoms series, one of the antagonists had the magical ability to force regular wild animals to his will for a limited period of time and turn them into killing machines. It created a terrifying scenario, because the ensorcelled animals had no desire of their own to do harm, but could not control themselves, and those against whom they were turned had no choice except to defend themselves.

The monsters in Scourge aren’t quite as sympathetic, but they are affected by magic that is not their own and over which they have no control. Their masters make use of them only as weapons, guaranteeing an eventual, brutal death. So to that end, they’re not ‘monstrous’ in their intent, just thrust into a place they don’t belong doing what instinct demands and coming to a bad end because of it.

Much as I’m a fan of things that go bump in the night, I’m hard pressed to find any monsters more terrifying than mankind. Our ability to hurt other people is seemingly limitless in its depravity, and much more frightening because the ‘monsters’ look just like us. And Scourge has its share of humans who deserve the title of ‘monster’ in addition to the magicked beasts. If you love monsters as much as I do, this is the series for you!





Scourge
A Darkhurst Novel 1
Solaris, July 11, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Gail Z. Martin on Monsters and Mayhem
Epic new fantasy from the bestselling author of The Summoner. In a city beset by monsters, three brothers must find out who is controlling the abominations.

The city-state of Ravenwood is wealthy, powerful, and corrupt. Merchant Princes and Guild Masters wager fortunes to outmaneuver League rivals for the king’s favor and advantageous trading terms. Lord Mayor Ellor Machison wields assassins, blood witches, and forbidden magic to assure that his powerful patrons get what they want, no matter the cost.

Corran, Rigan, and Kell Valmonde are Guild Undertakers, left to run their family’s business when guards murdered their father and monsters killed their mother. Their grave magic enables them to help souls pass to the After and banish vengeful spirits. Rigan’s magic is unusually strong and enables him to hear the confessions of the dead, the secrets that would otherwise be taken to the grave.

When the toll exacted by monsters and brutal guards hits close to home and ghosts expose the hidden sins of powerful men, Corran, Rigan and Kell become targets in a deadly game and face a choice: obey the Guild, or fight back and risk everything.





An Excerpt from Scourge: A Novel of Darkhurst
By Gail Z. Martin
Chapter One

A HEAVY IRON candleholder slammed against the wall, just missing Corran Valmonde’s head.
     “Son of a bitch!”
     “Try not to make her mad, Corran.”
     Rigan Valmonde knelt on the worn floor, drawing a sigil in charcoal, moving as quickly as he dared. Not quickly enough; a piece of firewood spun from the hearth and flew across the room, slamming him in the shoulder hard enough to make him grunt in pain.
     “Keep her off me!” he snapped, repairing the smudge in the soot line. Sloppy symbols meant sloppy magic, and that could get someone killed.
     “I would if I could see her.” Corran stepped away from the wall, raising his iron sword, putting himself between the fireplace and his brother. His breath misted in the unnaturally cold room and moisture condensed on the wavy glass of the only window.
     “Watch where you step.” Rigan worked on the second sigil, widdershins from the soot marking, this one daubed in ochre. “I don’t want to have to do this again.”
     A small ceramic bowl careened from the mantle, and, for an instant, Rigan glimpsed a young woman in a blood-soaked dress, one hand clutching her heavily pregnant belly. The other hand slipped right through the bowl, even as the dish hurtled at Rigan’s head. Rigan dove to one side and the bowl smashed against the opposite wall. At the same time, Corran’s sword slashed down through the specter. A howl of rage filled the air as the ghost dissipated.
     You have no right to be in my home. The dead woman’s voice echoed in Rigan’s mind.
     Get out of my head.
     You are a confessor. Hear me!
     Not while you’re trying to kill my brother.
     “You’d better hurry.” Corran slowly turned, watching for the ghost.
     “I can’t rush the ritual.” Rigan tried to shut out the ghost’s voice, focusing on the complex chalk sigil. He reached into a pouch and drew a thin curved line of salt, aconite, and powdered amanita, connecting the first sigil to the second, and the second to the third and fourth, working his way to drawing a complete warded circle.
     The ghost materialized without warning on the other side of the line, thrusting a thin arm toward Rigan, her long fingers crabbed into claws, old blood beneath her torn nails. She opened a gash on Rigan’s cheek as he stumbled backward, grabbed a handful of the salt mixture and threw it. The apparition vanished with a wail.
     “Corran!” Rigan’s warning came a breath too late as the ghost appeared right behind his brother, and took a swipe with her sharp, filthy nails, clawing Corran’s left shoulder.
     He wronged me. He let me die, let my baby die— The voice shrieked in Rigan’s mind.
     “Draw the damn signs!” Corran yelled. “I’ll handle her.” He wheeled, and before the blood- smeared ghost could strike again, the tip of his iron blade caught her in the chest. Her image dissipated like smoke, with a shriek that echoed from the walls.
     Avenge me.
     Sorry, lady, Rigan thought as he reached for a pot of pigment. I’m stuck listening to dead people’s dirty little secrets and last regrets, but I just bury people. Take your complaints up with the gods.
     “Last one.” Rigan marked the rune in blue woad. The condensation on the window turned to frost, and he shivered. The ghost flickered, insubstantial but still identifiable as the young woman who had died bringing her stillborn child into the world. Her blood still stained the floor in the center of the warded circle and held her to this world as surely as her grief.
     Wind whipped through the room, and would have scattered the salt and aconite line if Rigan had not daubed the mixture onto the floor in paste. Fragments of the broken bowl scythed through the air. The iron candle holder sailed across the room; Corran dodged it again, and a shard caught the side of his brother’s head, opening a cut on Rigan’s scalp, sending a warm rush of blood down the side of his face.
     The ghost raged on, her anger and grief whipping the air into a whirlwind. I will not leave without justice for myself and my son.
     You don’t really have a choice about it, Rigan replied silently and stepped across the warding, careful not to smudge the lines, pulling an iron knife from his belt. He nodded to Corran and together their voices rose as they chanted the burial rite, harmonizing out of long practice, the words of the Old Language as familiar as their own names.
     The ghostly woman’s image flickered again, solid enough now that Rigan could see the streaks of blood on her pale arms and make out the pattern of her dress. She appeared right next to him, close enough that his shoulder bumped against her chest, and her mouth brushed his ear.
     ’Twas not nature that killed me. My faithless husband let us bleed because he thought the child was not his own.
     The ghost vanished, compelled to reappear in the center of the circle, standing on the blood-stained floor. Rigan extended his trembling right hand and called to the magic, drawing on the old, familiar currents of power. The circle and runes flared with light. The sigils burned in red, white, blue, and black, with the salt-aconite lines a golden glow between them.
     Corran and Rigan’s voices rose as the glow grew steadily brighter, and the ghost raged all the harder against the power that held her, thinning the line between this world and the next, opening a door and forcing her through it.
     One heartbeat she was present; in the next she was gone, though her screams continued to echo.
     Rigan and Corran kept on chanting, finishing the rite as the circle’s glow faded and the sigils dulled to mere pigment once more. Rigan lowered his palm and dispelled the magic, then blew out a deep breath.
     “That was not supposed to happen.” Corran’s scowl deepened as he looked around the room, taking in the shattered bowl and the dented candle holder. He flinched, noticing Rigan’s wounds now that the immediate danger had passed.
     “You’re hurt.”
     Rigan shrugged. “Not as bad as you are.” He wiped blood from his face with his sleeve, then bent to gather the ritual materials.
     “She confessed to you?” Corran bent to help his brother, wincing at the movement.
     “Yeah. And she had her reasons,” Rigan replied. He looked at Corran, frowning at the blood that soaked his shirt. “We’ll need to wash and bind your wounds when we get back to the shop.”
     “Let’s get out of here.”
     They packed up their gear, but Corran did not sheath his iron sword until they were ready to step outside. A small crowd had gathered, no doubt drawn by the shrieks and thuds and the flares of light through the cracked, dirty window.
     “Nothing to see here, folks,” Corran said, exhaustion clear in his voice. “We’re just the undertakers.”
     Once they were convinced the excitement was over, the onlookers dispersed, leaving one man standing to the side. He looked up anxiously as Rigan and Corran approached him.
     “Is it done? Is she gone?” For an instant, eagerness shone too clearly in his eyes. Then his posture shifted, shoulders hunching, gaze dropping, and mask slipped back into place. “I mean, is she at rest? After all she’s been through?”
     Before Corran could answer, Rigan grabbed the man by the collar, pulled him around the corner into an alley and threw him up against the wall. “You can stop the grieving widower act,” he growled. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Corran standing guard at the mouth of the alley, gripping his sword.
     “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” The denial did not reach the man’s eyes.
     “You let her bleed out, you let the baby die, because you didn’t think the child was yours.” Rigan’s voice was rough as gravel, pitched low so that only the trembling man could hear him.
     “She betrayed me—”
     “No.” The word brought the man up short. “No, if she had been lying, her spirit wouldn’t have been trapped here.” Rigan slammed the widower against the wall again to get his attention.
     “Rigan—” Corran cautioned.
     “Lying spirits don’t get trapped.” Rigan had a tight grip on the man’s shirt, enough that he could feel his body trembling. “Your wife. Your baby. Your fault.” He stepped back and let the man down, then threw him aside to land on the cobblestones.
     “The dead are at peace. You’ve got the rest of your life to live with what you did.” With that, he turned on his heel and walked away, as the man choked back a sob.
     Corran sheathed his sword. “I really wish you’d stop beating up paying customers,” he grumbled as they turned to walk back to the shop.
     “Wish I could. Don’t know how to stop being confessor to the dead, not sure what else to do once I know the dirt,” Rigan replied, an edge of pain and bitterness in his voice.
     “So the husband brought us in to clean up his mess?” Corran winced as he walked; the gashes on his arm and back had to be throbbing.
     “Yeah.”
     “I like it better when the ghosts confess something like where they buried their money,” Corran replied.
     “So do I.”
     The sign over the front of the shop read Valmonde Undertakers. Around back, in the alley, the sign over the door just said Bodies. Corran led the way, dropping the small rucksack containing their gear just inside the entrance, and cursed under his breath as the strap raked across raw shoulders.
     “Sit down,” Rigan said, nodding at an unoccupied mortuary table. He tied his brown hair into a queue before washing his hands in a bucket of fresh water drawn from the pump. “Let me have a look at those wounds.”
     Footsteps descended the stairs from the small apartment above.
     “You’re back? How bad was it?” Kell, the youngest of the Valmonde brothers, stopped halfway down the stairs. He had Corran’s coloring, taking after their father, with dark blond hair that curled when it grew long. Rigan’s brown hair favored their mother. All three brothers’ blue eyes were the same shade, making the resemblance impossible to overlook.
     “Shit.” Kell jumped the last several steps as he saw his brothers’ injuries. He grabbed a bucket of water and scanned a row of powders and elixirs, grabbing bottles and measuring out with a practiced eye and long experience. “I thought you said it was just a banishing.”
     “It was supposed to be ‘just’ a banishing,” Rigan said as Corran stripped off his bloody shirt. “But it didn’t go entirely to plan.” He soaked a clean cloth in the bucket Kell held and wrung it out.
     “A murder, not a natural death,” Corran said, and his breath hitched as Rigan daubed his wounds. “Another ghost with more power than it should have had.”
     Rigan saw Kell appraising Corran’s wounds, glancing at the gashes on Rigan’s face and hairline.
     “Mine aren’t as bad,” Rigan said.
     “When you’re done with Corran, I’ll take care of them,” Kell said. “So I’m guessing Mama’s magic kicked in again, if you knew about the murder?”
     “Yeah,” Rigan replied in a flat voice.
     Undertaking, like all the trades in Ravenwood, was a hereditary profession. That it came with its own magic held no surprise; all the trades did. The power and the profession were passed down from one generation to the next. Undertakers could ease a spirit’s transition to the realm beyond, nudge a lost soul onward, or release one held back by unfinished business. Sigils, grave markings, corpse paints, and ritual chants were all part of the job. But none of the other undertakers that Rigan knew had a mama who was part Wanderer. Of the three Valmonde brothers, only Rigan had inherited her ability to hear the confessions of the dead, something not even the temple priests could do. His mother had called it a gift. Most of the time, Rigan regarded it as a burden, sometimes a curse. Usually, it just made things more complicated than they needed to be.
     “Hold still,” Rigan chided as Corran winced. “Ghost wounds draw taint.” He wiped away the blood, cleaned the cuts, and then applied ointment from the jar Kell handed him. All three of them knew the routine; they had done this kind of thing far too many times.
     “There,” he said, binding up Corran’s arm and shoulder with strips of gauze torn from a clean linen shroud. “That should do it.”
     Corran slid off the table to make room for Rigan. While Kell dealt with his brother’s wounds, Corran went to pour them each a whiskey.
     “That’s the second time this month we’ve had a spirit go from angry to dangerous,” Corran said, returning with their drinks. He pushed a glass into Rigan’s hand, and set one aside for Kell, who was busy wiping the blood from his brother’s face.
     “I’d love to know why.” Rigan tried not to wince as Kell probed his wounds. The deep gash where the pottery shard had sliced his hairline bled more freely than the cut on his cheek. Kell swore under his breath as he tried to staunch the bleeding.
     “It’s happening all over Ravenwood, and no one in the Guild seems to know a damn thing about why or what to do about it,” Corran said, knocking his drink back in one shot. “Old Daniels said he’d heard his father talk about the same sort of thing, but that was fifty years ago. So why did the ghosts stop being dangerous then, and what made them start being dangerous now?”
     Rigan started to shake his head, but stopped at a glare from Kell, who said, “Hold still.”
     He let out a long breath and complied, but his mind raced. Until the last few months, banishings were routine. Violence and tragedy sometimes produced ghosts, but in all the years since Rigan and Corran had been undertakers—first helping their father and uncles and then running the business since the older men had passed away—banishings were usually uneventful.
     Make the marks, sing the chant, the ghost goes on and we go home. So what’s changed?
     “I’m sick of being handed my ass by things that aren’t even solid,” Rigan grumbled. “If this keeps up, we’ll need to charge more.”
     Corran snorted. “Good luck convincing Guild Master Orlo to raise the rates.”
     Rigan’s eyes narrowed. “Guild Master Orlo can dodge flying candlesticks and broken pottery. See how he likes it.”
     “Once you’ve finished grumbling we’ve got four new bodies to attend to,” Kell said. “One’s a Guild burial and the others are worth a few silvers a piece.” Rigan did not doubt that Kell had negotiated the best fees possible, he always did.
     “Nice,” Rigan replied, and for the first time noticed that there were corpses on the other tables in the workshop, covered with sheets. “We can probably have these ready to take to the cemetery in the morning.”
     “One of them was killed by a guard,” Kell said, turning his back and keeping his voice carefully neutral.
     “Do you know why?” Corran tensed.
     “His wife said he protested when the guard doubled the ‘protection’ fee. Guess the guard felt he needed to be taught a lesson.” Bribes were part of everyday life in Ravenwood, and residents generally went along with the hated extortion. Guilds promised to shield their members from the guards’ worst abuses, but in reality, the Guild Masters only intervened in the most extreme cases, fearful of drawing the Lord Mayor’s ire. At least, that had been the excuse when Corran sought justice from the Undertakers’ Guild for their father’s murder, a fatal beating on flimsy charges.
Rigan suspected the guards had killed their father because the neighborhood looked up to him, and if he’d decided to speak out in opposition, others might have followed. Even with the passing years, the grief remained sharp, the injustice bitter.
     Kell went to wash his hands in a bucket by the door. “Trent came by while you and Corran were out. There’s been another attack, three dead. He wants you to go have a look and take care of the bodies.”
     Rigan and Corran exchanged a glance. “What kind of attack?”
     Kell sighed. “What kind do you think? Creatures.” He hesitated. “I got the feeling from Trent this was worse than usual.”
     “Did Trent say what kind of creatures?” Corran asked, and Rigan picked up on an edge to his brother’s voice.
     Kell nodded. “Ghouls.”
     Corran swore under his breath and looked away, pushing back old memories. “All right,” he said, not quite managing to hide a shudder. “Let’s go get the bodies before it gets any later. We’re going to have our hands full tonight.”
     “Kell and I can go, if you want to start on the ones here,” Rigan offered.
     Corran shook his head. “No. I’m not much use as an undertaker if I can’t go get the corpses no matter how they came to an end,” Corran said.
     Rigan heard the undercurrent in his tone. Kell glanced at Rigan, who gave a barely perceptible nod, warning Kell to say nothing. Corran’s dealing with the memories the best way he knows how, Rigan thought. I just wish there weren’t so many reminders.
     “I’ll prepare the wash and the pigments, and get the shrouds ready,” Kell said. “I’ll have these folks ready for your part of the ritual by the time you get back.” He gestured to the bodies already laid out. “Might have to park the new ones in the cart for a bit and switch out—tables are scarce.”
     Corran grimaced. “That’ll help.” He turned to Rigan. “Come on. Let’s get this over with.”
     Kell gave them the directions Trent had provided. Corran took up the long poles of the undertaker’s cart, which clattered behind him as they walked. Rigan knew better than to talk to his brother when he was in this kind of mood. At best he could be present, keep Corran from having to deal with the ghouls’ victims alone, and sit up with him afterward.
     It’s only been three months since he buried Jora, since we almost had to bury him. The memory’s raw, although he won’t mention it. But Kell and I both hear what he shouts in his sleep. He’s still fighting them in his dreams, and still losing.
     Rigan’s memories of that night were bad enough—Trent stumbling to the back door of the shop, carrying Corran, bloody and unconscious; Corran’s too-still body on one of the mortuary tables; Kell praying to Doharmu and any god who would listen to stave off death; Trent, covered in Corran’s blood, telling them how he had found their brother and Jora out in the tavern barn, the ghoul that attacked them already feasting on Jora’s fresh corpse.
     Rigan never did understand why Trent had gone to the barn that night, or how he managed to fight off the ghoul. Corran and Jora, no doubt, had slipped away for a tryst, expecting the barn to be safe and private. Corran said little of the attack, and Rigan hoped his brother truly did not remember all the details.
     “We’re here.” Corran’s rough voice and expressionless face revealed more than any words.
     Ross, the farrier, met them at the door. “I’m sorry to have to call you out,” he said.
     “It’s our job,” Corran replied. “I’m just sorry the godsdamned ghouls are back.”
     “Not for long,” Ross said under his breath. A glance passed between Corran and Ross. Rigan filed it away to ask Corran about later.
     The stench hit Rigan as soon as they entered the barn. Two horses lay gutted in their stalls and partially dismembered. Blood spattered the wooden walls and soaked the sawdust. Flies swarmed on what the ghouls had left behind.
     “They’re over here,” Ross said. The bodies of two men and a woman had been tossed aside like discarded bones at a feast. Rigan swallowed down bile. Corran paled, his jaw working as he ground his teeth.
     Rigan and Corran knew better than most what remained of a corpse once a ghoul had finished with it. Belly torn open to get to the soft organs; ribs split wide to access the heart. How much of the flesh remained depended on the ghoul’s hunger and whether or not it feasted undisturbed. Given the state these bodies were in—their faces were the only parts left untouched—the ghouls had taken their time. Rigan closed his eyes and took a deep breath, willing himself not to retch.
     “What about the creatures?” Corran asked.
     “Must have fled when they heard us coming,” Ross said. “We were making plenty of noise.” Ross handed them each a shovel, and took one up himself. “There’s not much left, and what’s there is… loose.”
     “Who were they?” Rigan asked, not sure Corran felt up to asking questions.
     Ross swallowed hard. “One of the men was my cousin, Tad. The other two were customers. They brought in the two horses late in the day, and my cousin said he’d handle it.”
     Rigan heard the guilt in Ross’s tone.
     “Guild honors?” Corran asked, finding his voice, and Ross nodded.
     Rigan brought the cart into the barn, stopping as close as possible to the mangled corpses. The bodies were likely to fall to pieces as soon as they began shoveling.
     “Yeah,” Ross replied, getting past the lump in his throat. “Send them off right.” He shook his head. “They say the monsters are all part of the Balance, like life and death cancel each other out somehow. That’s bullshit, if you ask me.”
     The three men bent to their work, trying not to think of the slippery bones and bloody bits as bodies. Carcasses. Like what’s left when the butcher’s done with a hog, or the vultures are finished with a cow, Rigan thought. The barn smelled of blood and entrails, copper and shit. Rigan looked at what they loaded into the cart. Only the skulls made it possible to tell that the remains had once been human.
     “I’m sorry about this, but I need to do it—to keep them from rising as ghouls or restless spirits,” Rigan said. He pulled a glass bottle from the bag at the front of the wagon, and carefully removed the stopper, sprinkling the bodies with green vitriol to burn the flesh and prevent the corpses from rising. The acid sizzled, sending up noxious tendrils of smoke. Rigan stoppered the bottle and pulled out a bag of the salt-aconite-amanita mixture, dusting it over the bodies, assuring that the spirits would remain at rest.
     Ross nodded. “Better than having them return as one of those… things,” he said, shuddering.
     “We’ll have them buried tomorrow,” Corran said as Rigan secured their grisly load.
     “That’s more than fair,” Ross agreed. “Corran—you know if I’d had a choice about calling you—”
     “It’s our job.” Corran cut off the apology. Ross knew about Jora’s death. That didn’t change the fact that they were the only Guild undertakers in this area of Ravenwood, and Ross was a friend.
     “I’ll be by tomorrow afternoon with the money,” Ross said, accompanying them to the door.
     “We’ll be done by then,” Corran replied. Rigan went to pick up the cart’s poles, but Corran shook his head and lifted them himself.
     Rigan did not argue. Easier for him to haul the wagon; that way he doesn’t have to look at the bodies and remember when Jora’s brother brought her for burial.
     Rigan felt for the reassuring bulk of his knife beneath his cloak—a steel blade rather than the iron weapon they used in the banishing rite. No one knew the true nature of the monsters, or why so many more had started appearing in Ravenwood of late. Ghouls weren’t like angry ghosts or restless spirits that could be banished with salt, aconite, and iron. Whatever darkness spawned them and the rest of their monstrous brethren, they were creatures of skin and bone; only beheading would stop them.
     Rigan kept his blade sharpened.

©2017 Gail Z. Martin. All rights reserved. May not be copied or shared in any format except with the written permission of the author.






About Gail Z. Martin

Gail Z. Martin on Monsters and Mayhem
The Hawthorn Moon is the annual summer blog tour for Gail Z. Martin, and features guest blog posts, giveaways, surprises, excerpts and more on sixteen blogs worldwide. Find the master list of posts and goodies at www.GailZMartin.com

Gail Z. Martin is the author of Scourge: A Darkhurst novel, the first in a brand new epic fantasy series from Solaris Books. Also new are: The Shadowed Path, part of the Chronicles of the Necromancer universe (Solaris Books); Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC (Solaris Books); Shadow and Flame the fourth and final book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books); and Iron and Blood a new Steampunk series (Solaris Books) co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

She is also author of Ice Forged, Reign of Ash and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen); The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) and the urban fantasy novels Deadly Curiosities . Gail writes three ebook series: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures and The Blaine McFadden Adventures. The Storm and Fury Adventures, steampunk stories set in the Iron & Blood world, are co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

Gail is also the organizer for #HoldOnToTheLight, authors blogging about depression, anxiety, PTSD, suicide, self-harm and other mental health topics to encourage inclusiveness in fandom and stand in solidarity with fans. Learn more at www.HoldOnToTheLight.com

Find her at www.GailZMartin.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com blog and GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com, on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin and free excerpts on Wattpad http://wattpad.com/GailZMartin.

Days of the Dead Blog Tour - Guest Blog by Gail Z. Martin


Please welcome Gail Z. Martin to The Qwillery as part of the Days of the Dead Blog Tour!



Days of the Dead Blog Tour - Guest Blog by Gail Z. Martin




Mining History

by Gail Z. Martin

How can you ever get writers' block when there's history? History is the ultimate reality show. It's the best gossip in the world.

Once you get past the pallid caricatures of historical figures presented in high school textbooks, you realize that the famed forebears who forged history were flawed, broken, selfish, pig-headed, inspired, visionary, brilliant, horny, bigoted, exceptional, obsessive hot messes, and that makes them fascinating.

Need a role model for your character? Ideas for political schemes? Plans to take over the world? History's got them all. Anything you can dream up has been done, and history is ready to dish the scoop and tell you all about the winners and the losers. Take something that happened in history, twist it a little, add magic or monsters, move it to a different geographic area, shift a pivotal outcome--and you've got the basis for a whole new series.

A caveat--history is often re-written by the winners, or they make certain their version of accounts survive and dominate. So it's key to also look for the holes in the narrative, because that's where people without power have been consciously erased by those who want to own and control the story. Ever wonder why the narratives we grew up with had few if any women, people of color, LGBT people? It's because their contributions were intentionally excised from the main narrative. Yet they definitely existed and did amazing things--and you can find this 'hidden history' through journals, letters and personal accounts.

Mining history has never been easier, thanks to the wealth of digitized records museums, archivists and individuals are bringing online on a daily basis--much of which is free to access. Photographs, letters, official documents, the census, maps, out of print books, newspaper articles--it's all there, and it's a wonder to behold. So many ideas in those yellowed pages!

When I get stymied by a plot point, I research. It might be Googling random ideas and seeing where it leads me, or following links in Wikipedia, or watching something on the History Channel. Inevitably, I find the perfect elements that I didn't even know I was looking for. It's magic--and so addictive. Sometimes I think writers write as an excuse to research. Time can get away from you so easily!

Then again, I was a history geek even before I became a writer. I'd still love history if I didn't write, but since I do, I find it to be my killer app, the Swiss Army knife of writing tools. You'll never run dry of ideas so long as you've got history!

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for my stories and for books by author friends of mine. You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Get all the details about my Days of the Dead blog tour here: http://bit.ly/2eC2pxP

Let me give a shout-out for #HoldOnToTheLight--100+ Sci-Fi/Fantasy authors blogging about their personal struggles with depression, PTSD, anxiety, suicide and self-harm, candid posts by some of your favorite authors on how mental health issues have impacted their lives and books. Read the stories, share the stories, change a life. Find out more at www.HoldOnToTheLight.com

Book swag is the new Trick-or-Treat! All of my guest blog posts have links to free excerpts—grab them all!

Trick Or Treat with excerpt from Bad Memories, one of my Deadly Curiosities story http://bit.ly/1xigNgz

Read free excerpt from Among the Shoals Forever, A Deadly Curiosities short story http://bit.ly/TP14YG

Enjoy this excerpt from my novel The Summoner http://bit.ly/1D81sBa

Perfect for Halloween! Free excerpt from Michael Ventrella’s BLOODSUCKERS: A VAMPIRE RUNS FOR PRESIDENT: http://bit.ly/1D7Z8tO

Use your free Audible trial to get my books! Ice Forged Audible https://amzn.com/B00EP1C1HK



Days of the Dead Blog Tour - Guest Blog by Gail Z. Martin



About Gail

Days of the Dead Blog Tour - Guest Blog by Gail Z. Martin
Gail Z. Martin is the author of Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC (Solaris Books); Shadow and Flame the fourth and final book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books); The Shadowed Path (Solaris Books) and Iron and Blood a new Steampunk series (Solaris Books) co-authored with Larry N. Martin. A brand new epic fantasy series debuts from Solaris Books in 2017.

She is also author of Ice Forged, Reign of Ash and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen); The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities. Gail writes three ebook series: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures and The Blaine McFadden Adventures. The Storm and Fury Adventures, steampunk stories set in the Iron & Blood world, are co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

Find her at www.GailZMartin.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com blog and GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com, on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin and free excerpts on Wattpad http://wattpad.com/GailZMartin.




Vendetta
Deadly Curiosities 2
Solaris, December 29, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

Days of the Dead Blog Tour - Guest Blog by Gail Z. Martin
The thrilling follow up to the urban fantasy series set in Charleston, South Carolina.

Someone very powerful is trying to destroy Sorren and everyone he cares about. That puts Cassidy, Teag and Trifles and Folly in the cross-hairs, against an unknown enemy with strong magic and significant resources. Sorren has spent centuries shutting down the plans of powerful immortals, dark warlocks and supernatural creatures, and now he’s got to figure out which of those many enemies is out to get him before they pick off his friends one by one and come after him to finish an immortal vendetta.




Shadow and Flame
The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga 4
Orbit, March 22, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 672 pages

Days of the Dead Blog Tour - Guest Blog by Gail Z. Martin
From Gail Z. Martin, one of the most exciting writers of fantasy adventure, comes the fourth and final novel in the epic Ascendant Kingdoms Saga.

Blaine McFadden and his allies have brought magic back under mortal command and begun to restore order to the beleaguered kingdom of Donderath. Now, new perils and old enemies gather for a final reckoning. Foreign invaders, a legendary dark mage and vengeful immortals fight Blaine's battered forces for control of the continent, and Blaine's weary army is the only thing standing between a kingdom struggling to rise from the ashes and a descent into fury and darkness.




The Shadowed Path
A Jonmarc Vahanian Collection
Solaris, June 14, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Days of the Dead Blog Tour - Guest Blog by Gail Z. Martin
These are the untold tales of Jonmarc Vahanian, hero of Gail Z. Martin’s best-selling Chronicles of the Necromancer series.

Jonmarc Vahanian was just a blacksmith’s son in a small fishing village before raiders killed his family. Wounded and left for dead in the attack, Jonmarc tries to rebuild his life. But when a dangerous bargain with a shadowy stranger goes wrong, Jonmarc finds himself on the run, with nothing ahead but vengeance, and nothing behind him but blood.

Soldier. Fight slave. Smuggler. Warrior. Brigand lord. If you’ve met Jonmarc Vahanian in the Chronicles of the Necromancer and Fallen Kings Cycle books, you don’t really know him until you walk in his footsteps. This is the first segment of his journey.




Iron & Blood
A Jake Desmet Adventure 1
Solaris, July 7, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

Days of the Dead Blog Tour - Guest Blog by Gail Z. Martin
Adventure in New Pittsburgh...

New Pittsburgh, 1898 – a crucible of invention and intrigue. Born from the ashes of devastating fire, flood and earthquake, the city is ruled by the shadow government of The Oligarchy. In the swarming streets, people of a hundred nations drudge to feed the engines of progress, while in the abandoned tunnels beneath the city, supernatural creatures hide from the light, emerging only to feed.

Jake Desmet and Rick Brand travel the world to secure treasures and unusual items for the collections of wealthy patrons, accompanied by Jake’s cousin, Veronique LeClerque. But when their latest commission leads to Jake’s father’s murder, the three friends are drawn into a conspiracy where dark magic, industrial sabotage and the monsters that prey on the night will ultimately threaten not just New Pittsburgh, but the whole world.

Days of the Dead Tour with Gail Z. Martin


Please welcome Gail Z. Martin to The Qwillery as part of her Days of the Dead Tour!



Days of the Dead Tour with Gail Z. Martin




Switching Gears Between Genres
By Gail Z. Martin

This year, I’ve had three new books—epic fantasy (War of Shadows), urban fantasy (Vendetta—coming in December) and co-authored with my husband, Larry N. Martin, steampunk (Iron & Blood). We’ve also co-authored two sci-fi stories for anthologies and three additional stories for anthologies that were steampunk/superhero and steampunk/Weird West, and I’ve done other short stories in my urban fantasy and epic fantasy worlds for other anthologies and for the four different series of short stories/novellas that we publish on our own.

That’s a whole lot of genre gear-switching!

At first, I was a little nervous about changing back and forth among genres. I’ll admit it gets a bit hectic when we’re handling editorial comments on two manuscripts simultaneously (in two different genres) while writing a third manuscript (in another genre) and occasionally taking a few days off to write a short story for an anthology (sometimes for a fourth genre). It can be a little like being on a long trip with tours in many cities—an ‘if this is Tuesday, this must be Belgium’ syndrome for fiction. It’s Monday—remind me again which series I’m working on?

But the truth was, while things got a little hectic with overlapping deadlines, it wasn’t hard to keep everything else straight. Maybe that’s because the sense of place is so strong for me in the stories that I know where I am once I get my mind back into the action, or perhaps it’s because the characters are so grounded in their ‘when and where’ for me that the flow of thoughts just picks back up naturally. I can honestly say there was never any confusion about who was where doing what!

What does differ—sometimes dramatically—is the pacing, the voice and the humor. Epic fantasy is generous about leaving an author room to build a whole new, complex world. There still needs to be lots of action, but there’s more space to set things up because you’re talking about huge battles and big armies and plots to overthrow kingdoms. Epic fantasy is almost always third-person viewpoint, so the characters’ voices come through more clearly than when you have an author/narrator. And the humorous touches are generally rarer. Epic fantasy can be thrilling, heroic and action-packed, but it tends to be rather serious stuff. Research differed among genres also, since with a medieval setting, there’s a lot of fact-checking on weapons, modes of warfare, and other details necessary for believable, immersive world-building.

With urban fantasy, it’s almost always first-person viewpoint, and usually set in the modern world. There’s plenty of action, and you can get into the heart of the plot faster because the world is mostly familiar since it’s the real world with a twist. Because of the first person viewpoint, there’s a more conversational style, since you’re in the protagonist’s head. That requires a strong character voice, which leaves openings for more humor. The feel of the whole book is colored by that first person viewpoint character, because the reader sees the world and all the action through that character’s eyes. Research for urban fantasy tended for us to focus on the geographic location of the story—in this case, Charleston, SC—and historical information related to the plot. Since the story is set in modern-day Charleston, some of that research involved visiting and walking around, something only partly possible via proxy with epic fantasy (although a trip that involved touring a lot of castles and fortresses helped a lot).

Steampunk, at least for us, has the pacing of a Bruce Willis action movie but with airships. We made it a challenge to shoot something or blow something up in every chapter, and I think we succeeded. We also went for a cheeky sense of humor, even when the going gets tough and seriously bad stuff starts to happen. The gadgets and steam-powered technology were an important part, as was the alternative history world-building, but we wanted the pacing of a thriller along with snappy repartee. Research for Steampunk focused not only on the geographic location and its history (in this case, alternative history Pittsburgh in 1898) but also details about inventions, patents and technology.

There were similar challenges on the science fiction and superhero short stories, with variations in tone, viewpoint character voice, world-building, genre conventions and types of research. That’s what made it challenging to accept the prompts for the anthologies, and rewarding when the stories came together.

It helped a lot to have read widely in all of the genres we worked in, to have a feel for how some of the bestselling authors and stories have spun their tales. You can learn a lot in this business by analyzing what works well (or doesn’t) in books by other authors, and by being mindful of your own reactions as a reader when you’re in the midst of being carried away by a good book. Then you take what you’ve learned and put it to use in your own writing.

At times, with all that going on, an author’s head feels pretty crowded. But I was very happy to come away with three books with three distinctly different styles, as well as short stories in two additional genres we felt held up to the expectations of those settings. And all that gear-shifting and genre-swapping feels like it’s here to stay.

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with never-before-seen cover art, brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for my stories and for books by author friends of mine. You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Details here: www.AscendantKingdoms.com

Book swag is the new Trick-or-Treat! Grab your envelope of book swag awesomeness from me & 10 authors http://on.fb.me/1h4rIIe before 11/1!

Trick or Treat! Excerpt from my new urban fantasy novel Vendetta set in my Deadly Curiosities world here http://bit.ly/1ZXCPVS Launches Dec. 29

Read an excerpt from Resurrection Day, one our Storm & Fury Steampunk stories set in the world of Iron & Blood http://bit.ly/1QTmbRf

Days Of The Dead Trick Or Treat Double-Dragon Publishing sampler #2
http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/sample/DDPSAMPLE002.mobi

Treats not Tricks! An excerpt from When Dragons Sleep
http://www.darkoakpress.com/dragonssleep.html

More Halloween goodies! Catch this excerpt from Realms Of Imagination http://www.darkoakpress.com/realms.html





War of Shadows
The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga 3
Orbit, April 21, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 640 pages

Days of the Dead Tour with Gail Z. Martin
The newest novel in Gail Z. Martin's breathtaking Ascendant Kingdoms saga -- a tale of unpredictable magic, battling warlords, and the lust for vengeance.

Amidst the shadows, chaos reigns.

Blaine "Mick" McFadden managed to partially restore Donderath's magic, but not without a cost. He and the magic are now bound together, and the power remains dangerous and erratic -- draining the life from him with every use.

New threats are rising from the wreckage of the battered kingdoms, and warlords both mortal and undead vie for control. Now, Blaine and his unlikely band of convict heroes must find allies amidst a seas of enemies, and discover a way to rebind magic to the will of mortals before it destroys him.

And time is running out...



Vendetta
Deadly Curiosities 2
Solaris, December 29, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

Days of the Dead Tour with Gail Z. Martin
The engaging follow up to the urban fantasy series set in Charlotte, North Carolina.

An old enemy of Sorren’s is back in town. Sariel is a nephilmancer, a powerful sorcerer able to summon the nephilim, tainted eternal spirits that watch humanity and stand in judgment. Sariel is looking for vengeance because a century ago, during their last battle, Sorren killed Sariel’s son and helped the Alliance send Sariel into harsh exile. Because of Sorren’s long affiliation with Charleston, Sariel has decided that the city must be destroyed, and in retaliation for his own loss, Sariel vows to destroy the mortal helpers Sorren protects. To do this, Sariel must bring five of the Watchers through a portal from another realm. When all five are present, judgment will fall, and the nephilim will reap and feed on the souls of the dead.



Iron & Blood
A Jake Desmet Adventure 1
Solaris, July 7, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

Days of the Dead Tour with Gail Z. Martin
A Steampunk adventure novel set in the fictional city of New Pittsburgh.

New Pittsburgh in 1898, a crucible of invention and intrigue, the hub of American industry at the height of its steam-driven power. Born from the ashes of devastating fire, flood and earthquake, New Pittsburgh is ruled by the shadow government of The Oligarchy. In the abandoned mine tunnels beneath the city, supernatural creatures hide from the light, emerging to feed in the smoky city known as 'hell with the lid off.'

Jake Desmet and Rick Brand, heirs to the Brand & Desmet Import Company, travel the world to secure treasures and unusual items for the collections of wealthy patrons, accompanied by Jake's cousin, Veronique 'Nicki' LeClercq . Smuggling a small package as a favor for a Polish witch should have been easy. But when hired killers come after Jake and a Ripper-style killer leaves the city awash in blood, Jake, Rick and Nicki realize that dark magic, vampire power struggles and industrial sabotage are just a prelude to a bigger plot that threatens New Pittsburgh and the world. Stopping that plot will require every ounce of Jake's courage, every bit of Rick's cunning, every scintilla of Nicki's bravura and all the steampowered innovation imaginable.





About the Author

Days of the Dead Tour with Gail Z. Martin
Gail Z. Martin is the author of the upcoming novel Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC (Dec. 2015, Solaris Books) as well as the epic fantasy novel Shadow and Flame (March, 2016 Orbit Books) which is the fourth and final book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga. Shadowed Path, an anthology of Jonmarc Vahanian short stories set in the world of The Summoner, debuts from Solaris books in June, 2016.

Other books include The Jake Desmet Adventures a new Steampunk series (Solaris Books) co-authored with Larry N. Martin as well as Ice Forged, Reign of Ash and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) from Orbit Books and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities from Solaris Books.

Gail writes four series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures, The King’s Convicts series, and together with Larry N. Martin, The Storm and Fury Adventures. Her work has appeared in over 20 US/UK anthologies. Newest anthologies include: The Big Bad 2, Athena’s Daughters, Realms of Imagination, Heroes, With Great Power, and (co-authored with Larry N. Martin) Space, Contact Light, The Weird Wild West, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, Alien Artifacts, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens.

www.JakeDesmet.com ~ www.ascendantkingdoms.com

Twitter @GailZMartinFacebook.com/WinterKingdoms

DisquietingVisions.com blog and GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin

Free excerpts, Wattpad http://wattpad.com/GailZMartin.

Guest Blog by Gail Z. Martin - Steampunk Outside Victorian London - July 8, 2015


Please welcome Gail Z. Martin to The Qwillery. Iron & Blood, which was co-written with Larry N. Martin, was published on July 7, 2015 by Solaris.



Guest Blog by Gail Z. Martin - Steampunk Outside Victorian London - July 8, 2015




Steampunk Outside Victorian London

By Gail Z. Martin

When we talk about the 'Victorian Era', we often refer only to the British Empire, as if no one else on earth was doing anything at all during Queen Victoria's long reign. Amazingly enough, everyone else was rather busy with things like the American Civil War, for example, or the machinations of Otto Von Bismarck, to name a few notable incidents. So why has Steampunk seemed to focus primarily on the UK, when there's a whole wide world to explore, and what can be done about it?

They 'why' of the dilemma is simple. Since Steampunk was a costuming community before it was a literary movement, books and stories took their cues from the elegant and oh-so-Victorian clothing and the Jules Verne-style gadgets. In this case, fiction followed form. Plus, Victorian England had plenty of fodder for good Steampunk and Gaslight-punk stories, what with explorers, inventors and the bloody butcher of White Chapel.

By the end of her long reign, Queen Victoria had a child or a grandchild on every throne in Europe. The possibilities--real and imagined--for intrigue based on that single fact boggle the imagination. And while the First World War was still in the future, hindsight reveals that the nationalism, fractured diplomacy and dubious alliances that contributed to the 'War to End All Wars' were already in play toward the end of Victoria's rule. The dynasties of Europe looked stable, but intrigue had hollowed them out like termites in a rotted foundation. The U.S. was reeling from its Civil War, and then continued the bloodshed in the Old West with debacles like the Battle of Little Big Horn before careening into an age of imperialism with the Spanish-American War.

Our Steampunk novel Iron and Blood is set in an alternative-history Pittsburgh, PA during the late 1890s. Pittsburgh, with its massive steel mills, tall chimneys billowing smoke and flame and its hub of inventors, oligarchs and innovators has all the quintessential Steampunk elements. Dawn's Early Light, by award-winning Steampunk writing duo Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine, sees its hero and heroine leave London to fight the forces of evil in the United States.

Steampunk World, a multicultural anthology by small press (Alliteration Ink) serves up stories by a roster of authors that includes the late Jay Lake to explore Steampunk in Asia and elsewhere throughout the world. Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn, by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Day Al-Mohamed, takes a Steampunk twist on the Arabian Nights.

As Steampunk departs from its London roots, it provides more opportunities for storytelling and costuming. After all, the 'sun never set' on the British Empire, but we've yet to see many Steampunk tales coming out of the former colonies, which included regions as diverse as India and Canada. Nor are we limited to stories set in the British Empire. Remember, the other countries had plenty going on as well.

While stories set under colonialism require a deft touch to recognize modern sensibilities and write with informed sensibilities, this is hardly different from handling racial bias in the pre- and post- Civil War American South, gender and sexuality bias nearly everywhere, and both nationalistic and religious schisms across the globe. Departing from the Victorian English norm does, however, push writers out of our Anglo-centric comfort zone, requiring additional research as well as a deft sense of which mores remain appropriate and admirable for a period hero/heroine intended for modern readers. Challenging, but the opportunities for originality are huge.

Much as I love Victorian London, I'm excited about the exploration of Steampunk stories beyond the bounds of Britain. The Victorians were a study in contrasts who lived loud and large, always on the brink of discovering the secrets of the great unknown. So I exhort readers and authors to embrace that Victorian spirit of adventure and explore the Steampunk ethos around the world and throughout the nineteenth century. After all, Victorians never saw a frontier they didn't want to explore!

Check out my new Steampunk novel Iron and Blood, co-written with Larry N. Martin, set in an alternative history Pittsburgh in 1898. In stores July 7!

The Hawthorn Moon Sneak Peek Event includes book giveaways, free excerpts and readings, all-new guest blog posts and author Q&A on 28 awesome partner sites around the globe. For a full list of where to go to get the goodies, visit www.AscendantKingdoms.com.





Iron & Blood
A Jake Desmet Adventure 1
Solaris, July 7, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

Guest Blog by Gail Z. Martin - Steampunk Outside Victorian London - July 8, 2015
A Steampunk adventure novel set in the fictional city of New Pittsburgh.

New Pittsburgh in 1898, a crucible of invention and intrigue, the hub of American industry at the height of its steam-driven power. Born from the ashes of devastating fire, flood and earthquake, New Pittsburgh is ruled by the shadow government of The Oligarchy. In the abandoned mine tunnels beneath the city, supernatural creatures hide from the light, emerging to feed in the smoky city known as 'hell with the lid off.'

Jake Desmet and Rick Brand, heirs to the Brand & Desmet Import Company, travel the world to secure treasures and unusual items for the collections of wealthy patrons, accompanied by Jake's cousin, Veronique 'Nicki' LeClercq . Smuggling a small package as a favor for a Polish witch should have been easy. But when hired killers come after Jake and a Ripper-style killer leaves the city awash in blood, Jake, Rick and Nicki realize that dark magic, vampire power struggles and industrial sabotage are just a prelude to a bigger plot that threatens New Pittsburgh and the world. Stopping that plot will require every ounce of Jake's courage, every bit of Rick's cunning, every scintilla of Nicki's bravura and all the steampowered innovation imaginable.





About Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin

Guest Blog by Gail Z. Martin - Steampunk Outside Victorian London - July 8, 2015
Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books and Orbit Books. In addition to Iron and Blood, she is the author of Deadly Curiosities and the upcoming Vendetta in her urban fantasy series;The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) as well as Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga from Orbit Books. Gail writes two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures and her work has appeared in over 20 US/UK anthologies.

Larry N. Martin fell in love with fantasy and science fiction when he was a teenager. After a twenty-five year career in Corporate America, Larry started working full-time with his wife, author Gail Z. Martin and discovered that he had a knack for storytelling, plotting and character development, as well as being a darn fine editor. Iron and Blood is their first official collaboration. On the rare occasions when Larry isn’t working on book-related things, he enjoys pottery, cooking and reading.


Find them at www.JakeDesmet.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin or @LNMartinauthor, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com blog and GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com, on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin free excerpts, Wattpad http://wattpad.com/GailZMartin.

Days of the Dead Blog Tour - How We Fell Apart by Gail Z. MartinThe Hawthorn Moon Blog Tour - Supernatural Vigilantes by Gail Z. MartinDays of the Dead  - Monsters and Mayhem in the Modern World by Gail Z. MartinWhen Writing Takes You Home by Gail Z. MartinGail Z. Martin on Monsters and MayhemDays of the Dead Blog Tour - Guest Blog by Gail Z. MartinGuest Blog by Gail Z. Martin - The World Behind VendettaDays of the Dead Tour with Gail Z. MartinGuest Blog by Gail Z. Martin - Steampunk Outside Victorian London - July 8, 2015Days of the Dead Blog Tour - Heroes, Monsters, Monkeys and More by Gail Z. Martin - and Giveaway

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