The Qwillery | category: Larry N. Martin


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

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!

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!

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

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, on Twitter @GailZMartin and @LNMartinAuthor, on, at blog, on and on Goodreads She is also the organizer of the #HoldOnToTheLight campaign Never miss out on the news and new releases—newsletter signup link

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

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, on Twitter @GailZMartin or @LNMartinauthor, on, at blog and, on Goodreads free excerpts, Wattpad

Days of the Dead  - Monsters and Mayhem in the Modern World by Gail Z. MartinGuest Blog by Gail Z. Martin - Steampunk Outside Victorian London - July 8, 2015

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