Monthly Archives: May 2013

More Adventure Than Ever from Gail Z. Martin!



Lots of news and three new short stories start Spring off with a bang!

First, the stories:

In the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures:

Storm Surge—When the caravan is beset by danger and a black beast stalks the shadows, Jonmarc Vahanian fears he is being stalked by a blood mage with a dangerous vendetta.

Bounty Hunter—Three bounty hunters come prowling around the caravan.  Are they after Jonmarc, or does one of his fellow travelers hide an even darker secret?

And in the Deadly Curiosities series:

The Wild Hunt–When a strange relic shows up in town and people start dying, Sorren and Dietger battle dark forces and the hounds of Hell.

Storm Surge and Bounty Hunter are available on Kindle, Kobo and Nook.  The Wild Hunt is currently only on Kindle, but stay tuned—it will be released for Kobo and Nook later this year. At just .99, they’re a cheap thrill!  (And if you haven’t checked out the rest of my short stories on ebook, take a look—there’s a new one every month!)

Next, new books coming!

Reign of Ash, the sequel to Ice Forged, will be out in early 2014.  Blaine McFadden and his friends will be back, and the fate of magic—and the Continent—rests in their hands.

News Flash! I’ve just signed a contract with Orbit for at least two more Ascendant Kingdoms books, so you’ll be seeing more of Blaine after Reign of Ash!

Catch me if you can!

May 24-26 I’ll be at Balticon in Hunt Valley, MD, and then May 31 – June 2, catch me at ConCarolinas in Charlotte, NC.

Later this year, you can find me at DragonCon in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend, Philcon in West Orange, NJ in November, and in October I’ll be in the Big Easy for ContraFlow, a new con for me in New Orleans!

June 21, I’ll be hosting the annual Hawthorn Moon Sneak Peek online event, your first glimpse of excerpts from Reign of Ash, brand new blog posts, podcasts and interviews.  It’s always plenty of fun, so be sure to watch for more details!

If you’re interested in writing and you’re in the Charlotte area, I host a monthly writing Meetup group on the second Wednesday evening of the month.  Hope you can join us!  Details are here:

If you can’t come to the Meetup group, I host a different discussion topic every month on  Sometimes we talk about writing, sometimes we talk about things we love about the books we’ve read—come and play with us!  Details here:

I hang out on Facebook and Twitter, so if you’ve got questions or just like to talk about fandom, favorite shows, books and movies, join the conversation at and on

Thank you…and a small request

Thank you very much for reading.  If you didn’t read, there would be no need for me to write.  And out of all the things you can choose to read, thank you very much for reading my stories.  It’s an exciting thing to share the world that’s in your head with others and have it become real to them.  You make that possible, and I am very grateful.

And now a small request….if you’ve enjoyed the books and short stories, please help others find them by adding a review on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Indigo, Waterstones or your favorite online booksellers, or on Goodreads.  I truly appreciate it!

I hope to see you soon, online or at an event.  Thank you!








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Q&A with Christina St. Clair

1. What is the title of your newest book or short story?  What’s it about?  Where can readers find it?

Blue Caravan is a supernatural fantasy for teens and anyone interested in Arthurian folklore, Merlin, evil, and 1950s England. It is a sequel to Emily’s Shadow but is a stand-alone read. It took a lot of research, something I love to do. Blackheath, London, where the story takes place was said to be where plague victims were once buried in mass graves. This turned out to be untrue, but when I walked across that barren grassland, I could feel strangeness begging to become a story…

2. How did you choose to become a writer?  I had reached an impasse in my life.  I’d been a fairly successful chemist (even got patents), but didn’t find it meaningful.  I found myself telling stories to my little nephews, have always loved books, and long ago as a child wanted to write, so I began twenty years ago to get serious.

3. What inspired your new book or story?  I intended exploring the Mordred/Arthur son/father conflict because I know more than one son who has trouble with his dad–and I love gypsies and wanted to learn more about them and create a fun read with supernatural underpinnings.

4. How do you research your stories?   I get lots of facts online, and I also buy and read books that inform me.  I found some ancient books about gypsy-lore on Amazon that were invaluable with all sorts of spells, including  “Cuckerdya pal m’re per Caven save misece!  Cuckerdya pal m’re per Den miseceske drom odry prejial” which means  Frogs in my belly, devour what is bad.  Frogs in my belly show the evil the way out!

5. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?  Read!  Write!  Revise! Keep an ideas notebook.  And stubbornly persist without taking yourself too seriously.


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Q&A with Kimberly Richardson

1. What do you read for fun? – Since I write dark and creepy fantasy, my reading tends to be classic works of literature. Right now, I am reading Sophie’s Choice by William Styron.

2. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer? – Write, write, write! Everyone has a story inside of them; all it takes is just one word, one sentence.

3. What is the title of your newest book or short story?  What’s it about?  Where can readers find it? – My newest short story is Agnes Viridian and the Search for the Scales. It is part of Pro Se Press’ newest anthology entitled Black Pulp: Pulp stories with an African American hero/heroine. My character, Agnes Viridian, is a woman filled with knowledge of all kinds; she has been called by the mysterious Mr. O to search for his missing scales. . . .

4. Where can readers find you on social media? (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Library Thing, Redd It, etc.) – Facebook (Kimberly Richardson), Twitter (ViridianGirl) and my blog, The Nocturnal Aesthetic.

5. What inspired your new book or story? – When I was younger, I wrote the Indiana Kim stories: a little girl who, like Indiana Jones, goes off in search of treasure while fighting her arch nemesis, Dr. Doom. Agnes Viridian is basically Indiana Kim grown up yet still filled with adventure!

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Well Begun is Half Done (Especially with Writing!)

by Gail Z. Martin

How do you know where your story begins?

Doesn’t it begin at, well, the beginning?

Not necessarily—at least, not that the reader needs to know.

My new book, Ice Forged, begins with a murder.  It’s important for readers to see the murder occur so that they understand my main character, who commits the murder and is sent into exile.  Chapter two picks up six years later.

Why?  Because nothing else relevant happens to the plot happens until then.

Couldn’t I have just begun the book with Chapter 2 and done a flashback?  Perhaps.  But by beginning the book where I did, the reader gains an understanding of the main character that I don’t think would have been as strong had it been recounted through a flashback or a dream or by having someone just tell about it.

I faced a similar challenge in another book, where the action in the first chapter occurs immediately after the end of the previous book.  My hero is pinned down in a battle.  On my first draft, I had them take cover in a barn.  When I re-read the draft, I realized that having the book open with my hero hiding in a barn didn’t seem very, well, heroic.  So I jumped the action ahead to a few moments later, when he actively engages in the fight.

What’s the right place to begin a story?  That depends.  It depends on the reaction you want your reader to have as they read the beginning.  It also depends on where the meat of your story arc takes place.

Here’s the most important thing: Your beginning absolutely MUST grab the reader so hard with the first sentence, first paragraph and first page and he or she cannot set the book aside.

Agents and editors reading over a manuscript will only go on to page two if your first page has grabbed them.  Readers flipping through your book in a store or on line are just as particular.  You don’t have time to take dozens of pages setting the scene.  You’ve got to score a knock-out punch on page one.

I’ve done a lot of manuscript analysis for a book shepherd in California, and one of the most frequent issues I find in not-yet-published books is a slow beginning.  One book took more than 30 pages for the main character just to get out of bed!  If you find yourself with a slow beginning, ask yourself where the real action begins and try starting the book there.

Yes, you the author need to know all the other details.  But you don’t have to share them with the reader.  Remember, you’ve only got one sentence, one paragraph, one page to turn a browser into a buyer.  Grab ‘em by the lapels and give them a good shake so that they can’t stop turning the pages!

Gail Z. Martin’s newest book, Ice Forged: Book One in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books), launched in January 2013.  Gail is also the author of the Chronicles of the Necromancer series (Solaris Books) and The Fallen Kings Cycle (Orbit Books).  For more about Gail’s books and short stories, visit Be sure to “like” Gail’s Winter Kingdoms Facebook page, follow her on Twitter @GailZMartin, and join her for frequent discussions on Goodreads.

Read an excerpt from Ice Forged here:


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Questions I’ve Encountered from Readers

Over the last eight years of writing, I have come up against many different questions from readers regarding the subject of my writing. Every author is going to get them and depending on your genre, the questions are going to be different. Being a romance writer, I have gotten a few that are a little off the wall and some that are right up my alley. So I wanted to share a sampling of questions I have run across over the years:


Q. Who is your favorite romance writer?

Well…I don’t read romance novels, so I can’t really say. Because I write so much romance and erotic romance, I don’t read much of the  genre. I try to stay away from it and read horror, urban fantasy, and fantasy books.

Q.  Does your husband know about all of these men you’re sleeping with in your head to write your books?

Hmm…there are thousands. Hehehe….of course he knows about them and all the positions that I come up with considering I am an acrobat in my head and can do many wonderful feats of lovemaking. But when I try to tell him about it or show my husband, things never go the way I imagined them. Thank goodness for my characters so I can try new things out on them.


Q. Do you actually perform all the love scenes you write about?

Ahh…that would be a no because I can’t transform into a werewolf or a werecat and I think that would be extremely painful when doing so in the middle of getting hot and heavy. Besides, my husband is only human and I can’t grow fangs even though it would be fun. As it is, I don’t bend in certain ways that my characters do.


Q. Can I be in your book?

I think this is one of the best questions I’ve gotten few times because readers are awesome. The normal is no, but on occasion I have actually put a reader into a book for a bit part that normally ends up getting them killed.


I’ve gotten some other wonderful questions, but these are the ones that have always stood out in my mind. It’s nice to know that readers get so involved they want to know more. And I’m always open for more questions.

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Q&A with E. Rose Sabin

Q. What is the title of your newest book?  What’s it about?  Where can readers find it? 

A. My newest book is the fantasy novel Mistress of the Wind, a novel set in the same world and country as my four YA novels: A School for Sorcery, A Perilous Power, and When the Beast Ravens (all published by Tor) and the independently published Bryte’s Ascent. However, Mistress is more “new adult” than YA. In the novel, Windspeaker Kyla Cren sings to the wind, understands its moods, gathers news from it, and treats it as her lover, yet she longs for a companionship that the capricious wind cannot provide. Her quest for friendship and love carries her to a land filled with hostility and hate, where her windspeaking ability is useless. To save herself, she must trust a magical and mysterious being whose lies have already sent her into grave danger, a young woman who has known nothing but treachery and deceit, and a man whose love can cause her death—or his own. It’s available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well as from my publisher’s site,

Q. What’s your favorite part of writing a new book or story?  What do you like the least?

A. My favorite part is the beginning, in which I expand on what starts as a vague ideas, develop characters, decide on the plot, and write the opening chapter or chapters.  That’s an exciting time, when ideas come so fast that I can hardly get them written on my computer. I also love reaching the end of a novel and tying it up in a satisfying way. Sometimes it turns out very differently from the way I expected and the ending works far better than the way I’d intended would have. I love it when the characters come alive and talk to me and point me in the direction the plot needs to take. The part I like least is writing the middle of the book, in which it seems that the novel can’t possibly work and what do I think I’m doing? I always have to slog through that stage, telling myself that I can fix the parts that don’t work and the novel  is doable, no matter how discouraging it may seem at that point. And generally I get through that and the novel works, although sometimes I do have to set that novel aside for a time and work on something else until I can take a fresh look at it and solve the problem that had stopped me.

Q. Where can readers find you on social media? (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Library Thing, Redd It, etc.)

A. I am on Facebook both with a personal page and an author’s page: E. Rose Sabin’s Books. I’m also on Twitter as @erosesabin and on Goodreads and LinkedIn as Elenora Sabin. I have posted all my book covers on Pinterest.

By the way, I write as E. Rose Sabin, using my first initial and my middle name so I can use a rose as my logo and mainly because people tend to misspell Elenora in many different and inventive ways.

Q. Who are your favorite fictional characters—your own, and from other books, TV shows and movies?

A. As for my own favorite fictional characters, I’d have to say Lina from A School for Sorcery and When the Beast Ravens and China from the Terrano Trilogy. (I enjoy writing the bad girls.) From other books, I loved Corwin from Roger Zelazny’s Amber series, Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels, and Door from Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman—both the novel and the BBC TV series, and also from TV, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Q. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

A. Be persistent; don’t give up. But at the same time, don’t be in such a hurry to be published that you send your work out to agents and publishers before it’s ready. Be sure you’ve given it a thorough editing and have had it read and critiqued by other writers whose opinion you trust (not family members). I’ve seen too many self-published novels with amateurish errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar and with plot holes large enough to swallow a house and garden. Have enough faith in yourself to accept criticism, decide whether it’s justified, and, if it is, make corrections that improve your work.

For a special treat, head over to the Ghost In The Machine podcast to hear E. Rose read from her latest novel by clicking here.

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Dreaming Up the End of the World

by Gail Z. Martin

A blank page is always daunting, no matter how much opportunity it presents.

I don’t know if it ever stops being scary when you start writing a brand new book in a new world with new characters, but if it does, I haven’t gotten to that point yet.

I had gotten very comfortable in my world of the Winter Kingdoms, the setting for my previous six books in the  Chronicles of the Necromancer series and the Fallen Kings Cycle.  I knew the characters.  I had the lay of the land clearly in mind, and I had spent a lot of time creating the culture, religion and history.

But there were stories I wanted to tell that didn’t fit in that world, so for Ice Forged, I had to dream up a whole world–and bring it to its knees.

I’m not a big fan of modern apocalyptic fiction, perhaps a side effect of having grown up during the Cold War.   But the idea of an apocalypse in a medieval setting intrigued me, especially if magic was involved.  I liked the idea of having a culture that was dependent upon magic come apart at the seams when magic goes “off the grid” (so to speak) at the same time as a devastating war.  And I liked the idea that the people whom that culture had thrown away–exiled to a far-off prison colony–might be the only ones who could put the pieces back together.

So with a germ of a plot idea, I started thinking about the characters who could bring the plot to life, and the type of culture that would create the best setting for the story.  The weather in Edgeland, where the prison colony is located, plays a big role in the story, so I needed to think through what impact the weather would have on the colony and how it contrasted with what the colonists were used to.  I thought about the technology of a medieval culture that has acquired its stability and prosperity relying on magic for essential parts of its infrastructure, and what would happen when that infrastructure failed.  I asked myself questions about how magic works in this world (quite differently from how it functioned in my prior world), and how magic factored into the history of this continent.

As I pulled the pieces together, I kept circling back to the characters asking, “How would that affect a person from that culture?”  Doing that helps me to shape the customs, beliefs, holidays, cultural norms, socio-economic divisions and texture of the world, because all those elements arise from a confluence of geography, history, and technology.

So consider this an invitation to come and visit the world of Ice Forged!  I hope you’ll have as much fun exploring as I have had creating this world.

Gail Z. Martin’s newest book, Ice Forged: Book One in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books), launched in January 2013.  Gail is also the author of the Chronicles of the Necromancer series (Solaris Books) and The Fallen Kings Cycle (Orbit Books).  For more about Gail’s books and short stories, visit Be sure to “like” Gail’s Winter Kingdoms Facebook page, follow her on Twitter @GailZMartin, and join her for frequent discussions on Goodreads.

Read an excerpt from Ice Forged here:

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Ten Things about Being a Writer

All of these things have happened to me on more than one occasion. I’m sure that there are many more things to list and other authors have different experiences, but one thing remains constant. We write because we have to or we might go insane. If we already aren’t, of course. 🙂


  1. You wake up in the middle of the night with ideas, write them down, and in the morning either can’t read your own handwriting or you look at the idea again and wonder what you were thinking.
  2. Write until your fingers cramp and your brain feels like it’s crispy.
  3. Procrastinate by making playlists to listen to while you write.
  4. Scratch down ideas on anything you can find wherever you go, even if it’s on the back of a receipt.
  5. Keep all your rejection letters until you have enough to wallpaper your bathroom with.
  6. Stay up late at night claiming you’re writing, but secretly you’re watching your favorite movie.
  7. You have conversations with your characters and argue where the plot is going to go and they change directions on you without warning.
  8. Your characters have conversations without you and no matter what you do, they won’t be quiet.
  9. You write one book and another idea pops into your mind so you just have to write that one too.
  10. You want to spend more time with your characters then you do with real people.

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