Monthly Archives: November 2013

Surviving the Publishing Apocalypse

By Gail Z. Martin

You’ve seen the headlines.  “Print is dead!” “Books are History!” “It’s the End of Reading As We Know It!”


Rumors of the death of publishing, to borrow from Mark Twain, have been exaggerated.  It’s certainly shifting and changing, breaking new ground and taking new forms, but it’s not dead yet.

I would argue that publishing is where camera makers and record producers were several years ago.  You remember records, right?  Round, spinney things that played songs?  They gave way to CDs, which were rendered useless by … Napster.  Record companies never saw downloadable music coming, and because their entire business model was built on charging for entire albums rather than song by song, they felt very threatened.  It took a while for legal downloads to win their trust, and even so, many major artists were hold-outs for many years.

Then there were cameras—the film kind.  You know, where you take photos that are saved on film and you have to pay for the film to be developed, and wait a while, and then get to see your pictures?  Kodak owned that market, but it didn’t see the threat digital cameras posed to their kingdom until it was too late.  Good luck trying to get your film developed at your neighborhood drug store these days.  Everything’s gone digital. Kodak’s gone bankrupt.

Or how about watching movies at home?  Not too long ago, people went to Blockbuster or Hollywood Video and rented movies. Then Netflix created a way for you to get your movies without leaving home, and Redbox gave you top hits for just a buck.  Bye-bye Blockbuster.

Have people stopped listening to music? Taking pictures? Watching movies at home?  No.  They just changed how they consume them.

That’s a lesson publisher are slowly learning.  Their profit models are built around how things used to be, and the new reality is uncertain and scary.  They’re tippy-toeing into the brave new world of ebooks, wary of technology that might cut out the traditional publishing middle-men.

Meanwhile, authors and small presses are experimenting.  You’ll see long-published authors bringing out their out-of-print titles on ebook as self-published ebooks.  You might see small presses offering the first book of a series for free to hook new readers into paying for future installments.  Authors and small presses are doing Kickstarter projects to underwrite the cost of putting out a new book, and readers are proving that they’ll pay for content they really like.

We’re seeing the return of serialized novels, something that hasn’t been popular since Charles Dickens. Podcasts offer audio novels created by the authors themselves, while social media allows authors to interact with readers in real-time, all the time.

The world of publishing has changed, and it’s changed fast.  Tomorrow’s successful authors will be marketing pros as well as good writers, because staying in touch with readers through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and other sites is part of doing business.  Readers expect to have an ongoing conversation with authors, and writers ignore that at their peril.  Publishing houses still haven’t grasped that their real value lies in their ability to promote, because many of them still view marketing as a secondary function.  In reality, they’re sitting on a gold mine and haven’t quite realized it yet.

So is the publishing apocalypse upon us?  I don’t think so.  We do live in “interesting times” as the Chinese curse says, but it’s not cause for despair.  Publishing, and books, will be with us for a long time to come.


Gail Z. Martin is the author of Ice Forged in her new The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books), plus The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven & Dark Lady’s Chosen ) and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn  and The Dread).  She is also the author of two series on ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Series. Find her online at



Leave a Comment

Filed under Books, Gail Z. Martin

Mythology and Fantasy—Where’s the Line?

By Gail Z. Martin

If you’re a fan of world mythology, you may have noticed that famous (and rather obscure) creatures from folklore and legend have made their way to the pages of recent bestsellers.  Epic and urban fantasy, paranormal romance and blockbuster movies all seem to have raided the pages of Bullfinch’s Mythology for their cast of characters.

What’s behind our fascination with the characters—and plotlines—of ancient myths?  Do these modern versions qualify as “retellings” of the myths, or just the literary equivalent of discount knock-offs?

The myths have hung around for thousands of years because they speak to something deeply human, and to shared dreams, fears and fantasies.  The myths also give us an archetypal framework in which to discuss good vs. evil, hubris and humility, and the values that make it possible to create a successful civilization, like honesty, hard work, truthfulness, loyalty, friendship, self-sacrifice, etc.  The characters may be fabrications, but they are very human on a bigger-than-life scale.

Telling the old stories WAS popular entertainment for much of human history.  These are the stories that ancient peoples memorized by heart and handed down from generation to generation.  Many of the ancient cultures borrowed their myths from even more ancient peoples, adapting them to fit the times and the conventions of their civilizations.  They would be told, retold and embellished at night around the campfire, on long winter evenings, and during celebrations and special ceremonies.  Oral traditions became murals, tapestries, plays, and ballads.  Plays became books, movies, ballads became operas. Watch closely, and you’ll even see the old themes play out in music videos.

So what’s with using mythology in modern fantasy?  In my opinion, it’s just another generation’s retelling of the old, old stories, spruced up for today’s readers.  The setting and superficial details change, but the essence of the stories and characters remain the same.  Does that mean there’s no such thing as a “new” story?  Perhaps in one way, because according to some experts, there are only two real plots in all of literature: 1) a person takes a trip and 2) a stranger comes to town. (Someone else pointed out that it’s really just one story told from different perspectives.)

But in another way, there are an infinite number of stories, because each storyteller brings a unique personal interpretation to the myth, the journey and the characters.  Re-told myths become more relevant when they are framed in contemporary images, broadening their appeal.  Those of us who tell stories for a living are just the latest in a long line of bards, spinning tales around a campfire.


Gail Z. Martin is the author of Ice Forged in her new The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books), plus The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven & Dark Lady’s Chosen ) and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn  and The Dread).  She is also the author of two series on ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Series. Find her online at


Leave a Comment

Filed under Books, Gail Z. Martin

Why we can’t get enough of medieval magic

By Gail Z. Martin

What is it about the Middle Ages that makes us think of magic?

Maybe it’s because those times seem so far removed from our own that it’s difficult to believe they were actually real, and not just an elaborate backstory created by Hollywood.  Especially here in the United States, where our oldest buildings are only from the 1500s, anything older seems hard to imagine.

Of course, magic was considered to be “real” during the Middle Ages.  Throughout Europe, witch hunts brought many innocents to a bad end.  Educated people lived in fear of witches and curses, werewolves and vampires. Given the lack of scientific knowledge, illness, natural disasters and even crop failures were blamed on magic, which seemed the most likely explanation.

I spend a lot of time researching background elements for my epic fantasy series, and it’s no surprise that I’m frequently drawing on medieval sources, legends, and real-life occurrences involving magic.  I’m fascinated with a world where magic was believed to be real, a world whose inhabitants saw mystery—and horror—at every turn. What did it feel like to live in a world where so little was explainable?  How vulnerable would you feel if there were no scientific explanations for the weather, disease, mental illness, blights and pestilence, if those and other hardships seemed to arise from curses and evil spells?

Medieval Europe was a place of dark forests and wild seas.  The world was still not well explored, so the discovery of previously unknown peoples, places, animals and objects seemed magical in the literal sense of the word.  The Old Religions acknowledged magic as real, venerating it in their legends and rituals.  Catholicism disdained magic, but replaced it with an unending series of miracles and miracle-working saints whose legends often ventured into what can only be termed “magic.”

All of which explains why medieval settings seem tailor-made for fantasy adventures.  Limited technology and scientific knowledge, vast distances and slow communication, daunting natural disasters and uncharted waters all set the perfect stage for telling stories laced with magic.  Looking back through the darkened mirror of time, even historically documented events seem to have the feel of forgotten magic about them.  That world seems so different from our own that it barely feels real.

And yet, people really don’t change.  Examine today’s urban myths, and you’ll find more than a hint of magical thinking as people try to explain big, complicated events with simple causes.  Logic need not apply, and many urban myths and conspiracy theories won’t hold up for a moment to scientific evidence, but there is something soothing at a primal level about simple, organic explanations in our nano-tech world.

I guess that’s why I love writing epic fantasy with magic.  I enjoy the idea of a world that isn’t completely explainable, filled with wonder and mystery, where magic can and does happen and things aren’t always as they seem.  In our world full of satellite images, Google Glass, and cellular biology, sometimes it’s fun to imagine not knowing everything.  I enjoy the mystery.

Gail Z. Martin is the author of Ice Forged in her new The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books), plus The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven & Dark Lady’s Chosen ) and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn  and The Dread).  She is also the author of two series on ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Series. Find her online at


Leave a Comment

Filed under Books, Gail Z. Martin

Promoting Your Book with Podcasts and Trailers

By Gail Z. Martin

You’ve written a book. Congratulations!  Now you need to let the world know, and attract readers.  That’s the hard part.

Out of the many options you have for promoting your book, many authors choose to make podcasts and trailers part of their marketing plan.  One reason for this popularity is that podcasts and trailers bring sound and visual to the written word, adding excitement and engaging multiple senses.  Another reason is that smart phones, digital cameras and inexpensive software have made podcasts and trailers easy to create.  And the third reason is, they’re fun to produce and fun to consume, making them a great way to reach out to readers and create a bond.

“Podcasts” don’t really require an iPod.  They are audio recordings shared via the Web that can be downloaded to and listened on any device that can play an MP3 or WAV file—iPods, smart phones, computers and a variety of MP3 players—and shared via social media.

“Trailers” are like the previews you see at the movies—short visual commercials that tease the viewer into wanting to know more.  These can be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo and other video sites, downloaded to computers, and shared via social media.

What do you talk about on a podcast?  Anything you want.  Some authors interview other authors.  Some podcast hosts record readings from their books, either with a single voice or a cast of characters like old-time radio shows.  Others do a radio show-type of format that includes whatever catches their fancy.  The point is that a podcast is a regular recording you share via social media that provides a way for readers to get to know you in a setting that isn’t specifically promotional.

How do you create a podcast?  Although it’s pretty easy, that’s a little beyond the scope of this article, although you can read “Podcasting for Dummies” by Tee Morris or my own “Launching Your Books Without Losing Your Mind” book for tips and how-to ideas.

If you’ve been on YouTube of Goodreads, you’ve probably seen book commercials, sometimes called “trailers.”  The simplest book trailers are really a video of a PowerPoint slide show, doing a transition from photo to photo to tease the viewer into wanting to find out more about the book.  More complex trailers use special effects and even live action to create a commercial that brings a book to life.

One author I know who wrote a book with a pirate theme found a local pirate-themed event and went with her camera, taking photos of participants in pirate gear (with their permission) and sequencing the photos into a fun, simple book video.  (If you use photos of people, be sure to get them to sign a simple form authorizing you to use their image.)

You can bring your commercial to life with music.  Just be sure to purchase royalty-free tunes from a place like so that you stay on the right side of the law, and always use photos that you’ve either taken yourself or obtained through a royalty-free online service so that you don’t infringe copyright.  You can use the iMovie app (about $5) if you have an iPad, or Windows Movie-Maker (usually a free part of your basic software) if you use PC, or even a program like Camtasia if you want to get fancy.  Or, you can hire a service like Apex Reviews or Circle of Seven (COS) Productions, both of which I’ve used.

Why bother?  The short answer is, because podcasts and trailers help you sell books.  The long answer is, because a career as an author is all about building a relationship with readers, and that relationship happens over a period of time, utilizing a variety of senses. Podcasts and trailers give prospective readers new ways to meet you, get to know you, and learn about your books without a direct sales pitch.  By engaging readers through sound and visuals, your books come to life before the reader turns the first page.

Still not sure?  Check out the author podcasts and videos on Goodreads, including the ones on my author page.  There are as many styles as there are authors, and you can find something that fits your technology comfort zone, busy schedule and lifestyle.

Give your books a life of their own with podcasts and a book video, and see what happens to your sales!

Gail Z. Martin is the author of Ice Forged in her new The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books), plus The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven & Dark Lady’s Chosen ) and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn  and The Dread).  She is also the author of two series on ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Series. Find her online at


Leave a Comment

Filed under Books, Gail Z. Martin

Giving Back to Fans

Curse of Death coverBy Kelly Hashway

Probably the most incredible thing about being a writer—other than getting to make up stories for a living—is talking to fans. Authors love their books. We wouldn’t write them if we didn’t. But hearing readers love our books is surreal.

So recently, I decided I wanted to do something to thank the readers who have been so supportive of my young adult paranormal series, Touch of Death. Lucky for me, my publisher, Spencer Hill Press, allowed me to write a free short story companion to the series. This is actually a thank you in two parts because 1) it’s free! and 2) the story is the myth about Medusa that the series is based upon. The question I get asked most by readers is what myth I used, because it’s not widely known. The Medusa in my books is one most people have never seen before, so this story will answer that question for readers.

I love that I can offer fans something for free and that it will help them understand my series better. If you’d like to check out my free short story, Curse of Death, you can find it here:

Story blurb:

When Medusa is caught between the god she serves and the god she loves, there can only be one outcome.


Kelly Hashway is a former language arts teacher who now works as a full-time writer, freelance editor, and mother to an adorable little girl. In addition to writing YA novels, Kelly writes middle grade books, picture books, and short stories. When she’s not writing or digging her way out from under her enormous To Be Read pile, she’s running and playing with her daughter. She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and pets. She is represented by Lauren Hammond of ADA Management.


Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Guest blog by Janine K. Spendlove

Howdy everyone!

Gail was kind enough to let me do a guest post on her blog, and so I’ve come on to talk about the recent hubbub about the phrase “strong female character” attached to this article:

It’s probably a bit self serving for me to say that I both agree and disagree with the article for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which is, I’m a huge fan of “strong female characters” in fiction, television, and movies, and of course love to feature them in my own writing.

But I feel I need to clarify – to me a strong female character doesn’t necessarily mean a physically strong woman who can beat up on a room full of ninjas like Black Widow (which is something I adore about her, btw), but to me can also mean a women who is strong emotionally, ethically, morally, or any number of ways. Essentially a well written, realistic woman, with strengths and flaws, who is allowed to be brilliant and emotional at the same time, or aggressive and forceful without being categorized as a “bitch,” or a princess who dreams of her prince and has the courage to fight for that dream (even if she still needs to be rescued in the end, THAT’S OK. Sometimes the girl needs to be rescued, sometimes the guy does).

Now, where I agree with this article is that I don’t like the box women in media seem to be currently given – meaning, in order to be viewed as “strong” the media is pretty much going for “a dude with boobs and lipstick that will punch you out if you piss her off.”

I think a perfect example of strength is actually someone like Malala Yousafzai ( – a 16 year old girl in Afghanistan who dared stand up to the Taliban to fight for women’s rights (peacefully). She was shot, recovered, and is still an activist despite the many threats on her life.

Sooooo, my long winded point here is, there’s a litany of ways to write strong characters (not just women!), and we don’t need media to tell us what strong is defined by.

Now I hope you will forgive me a bit of shameless self-promotion.

I mentioned above that I love to write about strong women in my novels/short stories. In fact, in my first fantasy novel, War of the Seasons, book one: The Human, I created an entire matriarchal society because I was so tired of the default being “men rule.” And of course, my main character, Story, is a 17 year old strong willed young adult who makes many decision (some good, some bad), but definitely controls her own fate/does what she must to survive/save others.

As it happens the kickstarter for the third novel in the War of the Seasons trilogy The Hunter opened about 2 weeks ago and will close on November 5th.
The kickstarter also has an option where people can order the two previous novels in either print or ebook format (and any of my books/anthologies currently in print).

Of course anything ordered via the kickstarter would be signed by me (and personalized if people email me to specify who they would like it personalized to).

If you read through the whole kickstarter you’ll see that some of the add ons that can be purchased, like the patch and the art print, all the proceeds from those purchases go to the Make-a-wish foundation & Craven Country Arts Council (per the request of the surviving parents of Will and Katie).

A few other things I want to note: if you buy the print book, you automatically get the ebook for free.

That’s right, you read that correctly. Print book = eBook FOR FREE

Also, in case you haven’t noticed on the stretch goals, pretty much you get EVERY SINGLE ONE just by contributing at the $5 level! So, all the stretch goal novels and short stories? If we reach them, you’ll get them all for free just by having contributed at least at the $5 level.

I also wanted to bring up another project that will kick off in December – an anthology called Athena’s Daughters.

Athena’s Daughters is a collection of short fiction from some of the best female science fiction and fantasy authors in the business (Jean Rabe is editing, Gail Z. Martin, Sherwood Smith, Mary Robinette Kowal, and others have stories in it). This anthology features stories written by strong women about strong women (see my definition of strong above).

While we at Silence in the Library Publishing love male science fiction and fantasy authors, we wanted, in this project, to provide a platform by which our female authors, artists, graphic designers, and editors could showcase their incredible talents.

To that end, Athena’s Daughters is a project conceived, developed, and driven by women. All of the authors in this anthology are women, as are the artists, the graphic designer, and the editor. Everyone involved in this project is a strong, capable, talented woman. So keep an eye out at for details.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Janine K. Spendlove is a KC-130 pilot in the United States Marine Corps. In the Science Fiction and Fantasy World she is primarily known for her best-selling trilogy, War of the Seasons. She has several short stories published in various anthologies alongside such authors as Aaron Allston, Jean Rabe, Michael A. Stackpole, Bryan Young, and Timothy Zahn. She is also the co-founder of GeekGirlsRun, a community for geek girls (and guys) who just want to run, share, have fun, and encourage each other. A graduate of Brigham Young University, Janine loves pugs, enjoys knitting, making costumes, playing Beatles tunes on her guitar, and spending time with her family. She resides with her husband and daughter in Washington, DC. She is currently at work on her next novel. Find out more at

Leave a Comment

Filed under Books, Guest Blogger

What comes first? Character or plot?

By Gail Z. Martin

What happens first in the mind of a reader—character or plot?

My answer is—it depends.

Sometimes, I have a very strong feel for a character, and the more I think about that character, the more clear I get on what kind of adventure that character would have and how he/she would rise to the challenge.

In other cases, the plot and setting come to me, and I need to think about who the right kinds of characters would be who could carry of that plot in that setting.

The more I talk with other authors, the more I’m convinced that there is no single right way to write.  In fact, the more books I write (I’m up to about 14 published books as we speak), the more I’m also convinced that the process changes with each book, each character and every plotline.

When the character becomes clear to me first, I usually get a sense of that character as if I actually met the person.  Sometimes all at once, and sometimes a little at a time, I get the back story, the physical characteristics, the fears, hopes and dreams that have created my character.

When the plot firms up first, I see the story arc, the key milestones, the major twists and turns and the climax like a movie that needs to be cast.  So like any good casting agent, I think about what the hero of the piece would be like, who the love interest is, who the antagonists would be, who is in the supporting cast and what roles they play.  Then I “cast” the roles by creating characters who fit the requirements, characters who ultimately become very real to me.

Over the course of a writing career, it’s likely that you’ll have some books come to you in one way, and some in the other.  Try not to judge.  Both are equally legitimate.  They’re just different starting points, but you can get a good ending from either path.  Try to enjoy the journey.

When you begin with the plot, you may find that the action is very clear to you, but it takes more thought to figure out what motivates your characters and to make them real and emotionally accessible to your readers.

When you begin with the characters, it feels as if you’re writing about flesh-and-blood people you’ve known all your life, but you may struggle to get the story arc just right.  Be prepared for some rewrites as you go down a few dead ends and get inspiration partway through the first draft.  That’s just the nature of the muse.  Roll with it.

I’ve found both approaches to result in a very satisfactory outcome.  True, it takes some adaptability on the part of the author, but if you can be flexible, you may find that the end result is well worth the effort.

Regardless of which piece comes to you first, be glad your muse has spoken and run with it!  Rest assured that you will find the story that needs to be told.


Gail Z. Martin is the author of Ice Forged in her new The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books), plus The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven & Dark Lady’s Chosen ) and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn  and The Dread).  She is also the author of two series on ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Series. Find her online at


Leave a Comment

Filed under Gail Z. Martin

Q&A with Ian Tregillis


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

My newest novel, “Something More Than Night,” comes out from Tor Books on
December 3.  It’s a Dashiell Hammett- and Raymond Chandler-inspired murder
mystery set in a medieval vision of heaven. It’s narrated by a fallen angel
who has modeled himself on Philip Marlowe– imagine central casting for a
1930s noir novel juxtaposed with the heavenly choir:
Angels, Archangels, Cherubim, Seraphim, Principalities, Thrones,
Dominions…  It features swell dames and dirty priests, nightclub
stigmatics and the Voice of God.  I had a blast with it.

2. How did you choose to become a writer?

Like most writers, writing is something that I’d always felt drawn to. I
played around with it when I was younger, but was never serious or
disciplined about it.  I didn’t understand the need for discipline until
much later, in fact.  It wasn’t until I’d finished graduate school and moved
a thousand miles from my friends and family when I decided I finally had
time to sit down and try to learn how to write.  (I wish I’d figured out
much earlier that one has to make time for writing, rather than waiting for
life to give one the opportunity!) At that point I joined an online workshop
and set about trying to learn as much as I could.  I gave myself permission
to take as long as necessary to learn what I needed to learn, and I’m glad I
did — I still feel like I’ve barely begun.

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

My favorite part of embarking on a new project is tinkering with new ideas,
new characters, new settings.  Everything is shiny and clean and just a
little bit intoxicating.  It’s a bit like the first flirty days of a new
relationship — everything is intriguing, exciting, seductive.
I love the raw brainstorming that happens before the writing begins,
especially when disparate concepts collide and transform into something new
that becomes a centerpiece of the new work.

My least favorite part of any new project is that moment when it starts to
feel not-so-new anymore.  When it’s no longer fresh and exciting, no longer
intriguing and flirtatious, but merely work that must be finished.  This is
usually the middle third or third quarter of each book.

4. What do you read for fun?

I tend to alternate between fiction and non-fiction.  In fiction, I read
everything from Raymond Chandler to Charlie Stross.  I like to read the
occasional noir story as much as I enjoy spy thrillers, space opera, and
fantasy.  In non-fiction, I enjoy reading about random subjects — the works
of Bill Bryson, for instance, or Sam Kean’s excellent book about the
Periodic Table, “The Disappearing Spoon.”

I’ve also made a hobby of reading crackpot science and fringe archeology
works.  Not because I buy into the claims, I hasten to add! But because I
find the conspiratorial mindset endlessly fascinating. This reading can get
very frustrating, however, so I can only do it in small doses.

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

I’m lucky to have had several wise mentors over the years.  They taught me
that the most important thing any writer must do is write!  That sounds
obvious, but I think it gets overlooked from time to time.

Enjoying that sense of “having written” isn’t the same as being a writer
— being a writer means working consistently, even (or especially) when it
isn’t particularly fun.  But the writing got much easier (or, at least,
bearable) when I gave myself permission to write lousy first drafts.

Click here to listen to a reading from Something More Than Night.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Books, Guest Blogger

Q & A with Ice Forged author Gail Z. Martin

Q:  You write epic fantasy.  What got you interested in sword-and-sorcery stuff?

A:  As a kid, I loved anything about King Arthur, and I read every book I could find about Arthur, Merlin, Morgan LaFey, and the Round Table.  I know all the words to every song from Camelot! That got me interested in real history, and I read a lot about kings, castles, wars and then of course, magic.  Then I got into reading mythology and folklore, and when you put it all together, I started thinking up stories of my own!

Q:  Please tell us about your other books and where to find them.

A:  The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven and Dark Lady’s Chosen make up my Chronicles of the Necromancer series.  The Sworn and The Dread are books one and two of my Fallen Kings Cycle, which continues the characters and setting from the first four books.  Ice Forged, and in 2014, Reign of Ash, are the first two books in my Ascendant Kingdoms Saga series, which is an entirely different fantasy world from my first books.  All of these titles are available wherever books are sold as paperbacks, ebook and audiobook.

Every month I bring out a new short story on Kindle, Kobo and Nook for just .99.  It’s a cheap thrill, and a good way to get to know my writing if you haven’t read one of my books.  In the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, so far we’ve got Raiders’ Curse, Caves of the Dead, Storm Surge, and Bounty Hunter.  In my Deadly Curiosities Adventures, so far the titles include Vanities, Wild Hunt, Steer a Pale Course.  You can find these online wherever ebooks for Kindle, Kobo and Nook are sold.

Q:  Ice Forged started a new series for you, with a different world and all-new characters from what you’ve written before.  What made you decide to write a different series instead of continuing with your other characters?

A:  I still have plans to write more stories in the Chronicles world, but I had reached a good place to take a break and do something different for a while.  There’s a natural break in the plot line after The Dread that makes a logical resting point.  So while my characters are taking a much-deserved vacation, I had the opportunity to write some new stories that had been banging around in my head.

Q:  You’ve also begun to bring out short stories on ebook.  How did that happen?

A:  I started doing short stories for anthologies, and discovered that it was fun.  Since my Chronicles world is on hiatus for now, I decided to bring out some of Jonmarc Vahanian’s back-story, since he’s a character everyone wants to know more about.  I created my Deadly Curiosities world for my anthology stories, and enjoyed writing about that world so much I decided to create more stories on my own.  I’ve found that switching up which world I’m writing about keeps me sharp and it’s like a mini-vacation.  I’m having a lot of fun!

Q: What’s the best part about being a writer?

A:  For me, there are two “best” parts—getting to tell the stories and getting to meet readers.  Writing is a lot of fun for me, even though it is a lot of work.  It doesn’t feel like work!  It’s so exciting to share the stories that bounce around in my head and make them real to other people.  Then meeting other people who love to read is also wonderful.  Book people have so much in common, even if we don’t always agree on our favorites, we do agree that books are fantastic!

Gail Z. Martin is the author of Ice Forged in her new The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books), plus The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven & Dark Lady’s Chosen ) and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn  and The Dread).  She is also the author of two series on ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Series. Find her online at


Leave a Comment

Filed under Books, Gail Z. Martin

The Days of The Dead Wrap-Up—Still Plenty of Tricks and Treats!

Thank you for helping put Ice Forged at #1 in the US and Canada in three categories for books and ebooks on Amazon and into the top 70 books on Kindle in both countries!

Some of the contests in the list below are still running for a limited time, so there’s still a chance to win free books!

The blog posts and videos will be up long-term, so here’s the full list.  A couple will be posting later in November.  And like any good Halloween party, there are extra treats—downloadable excerpts and audios of my work and several of my author friends.  Enjoy!

  • Orbit Books (—A guest blog post on Stalking the Shadow Side and a chapter excerpt from Ice Forged
  • AND a post on my vote for who is the Ultimate Urban Fantasy Fighter
  • New Video for Ice Forged and Reign of Ash:
  • I Smell Sheep on why my brain is a dangerous place for characters.
  • Solaris Books —A blog post about the new Deadly Curiosities novel plus a never-before seen excerpt
  • Magical Words—A guest blog from me on “Looking Over the Brink” plus a different excerpt from Ice Forged
  •—a drawing to win a copy of Ice Forged (through 11/4) plus a blog post on “Epic to Urban and Back Again”
  •—another chance to win a copy of Ice Forged and a blog post about Genre and Gender at
  • Out of the Box Media A drawing for a copy of Ice Forged and a blog post on the Brave New World of Publishing
  • – a blog post on The Hardest Part of writing urban fantasy
  • AudioBookaneers is offering a drawing for an audio copy of The Sworn Coming soon!
  • RisingShadow  Asks me all the questions no one else dared to ask!
  • Beauty In Ruins has a brand new interview where I spill all my secrets!
  • Fantastical Imaginations has an all-new interview
  • Civilian Reader has my take on It’s the End of the World—Bring Charmin
  • Fantasy Book Critic on When the Grid Goes Down
  • Paranormal Authors on Digging up Bones: Through a Glass Darkly
  • Janine Spendlove’s blog on my upcoming story in the Athena’s Daughter’s anthology
  • Toni Sweeney’s blog on Living in Interesting Times
  • Tera Fulbright’s blog and a post on The Con-Going Writer
  • A Marvelous New World on Series, Characters and Sanity
  • Joshua Palmatier’s blog on my upcoming story in Steampunk Vs. Aliens
  • Kelly Hashway’s blog Where’s the Line Between Horror and Epic Fantasy on 11/13
  • Skiffy and Fanty on My Superpower
  • Chaos & Insanity talked to me about  Creating Fictional Holidays
  • Vonnie Winslow Crist’s blog on Suspense, Horror and Romance in Epic Fantasy
  • on Urban/Epic Whiplash
  • KristiPetersenSchoonover.com
  • on The Long and Short of It about the new short story series on
  • on Epic Fantasy is No Place for Wimps
  • Indian SF on Myth, Magic, Folklore—and Fantasy Coming soon!
  • The BroadPod includes an audio reading of Vanities
  •—Readings from all of my new short stories—including some that haven’t been released yet!
  •—A special post from me about how the short stories fit into the world of the novels, and a different chapter excerpt from Ice Forged, and sample chapters from books by several of my author friends!
  • TheWinterKingdoms on Facebook  (please “like” my page!) “like” my page before 11/30 and enter for a chance to win a signed copy of The Dread!
  •—a blog post on what new surprises lie in store—and where I’ll be in 2014, plus more excerpts!
  • On Goodreads  Talking about Your Favorite Monsters—join in here:–favorite-monsters
  • New radio interview on Beware the Spaceman
  • @GailZMartin—Links to some of my excerpts and audios, plus links to downloads from some more of my awesome author friends!
  • Pinterest—See some of my photos from the conventions I attend, cities I visit and more—plus my favorite board, “Abandoned Places”
  • I’m now on Reddit and I’ll be the Fantasy Author of the Day on April 2 for Reign of Ash and on July 9 for Deadly Curiosities and an AMA-Ask Me Anything in April!
  • Watch for excerpts and new short fiction from me on Wattpad—Come hang out and connect! Excerpts from Buttons, Reign of Ash, The Low Road, Among the Shoals Forever and Raider’s Curse.
  • Reign of Ash excerpt here:
  • Speculative Scotsman excerpt and Q&A here:  and here:

  • On Falcata Times, I talk about rebuilding after the apocalypse
  • For Fantasy Faction, I riff about why anarchy is overrated.
  • On Dave Brendon’s blog, I muse about “found families” in fantasy
  • With SFBokhandelin, we discuss my own version of “chaos theory.”
  • No Cloaks Allowed explores When Magic Is The Problem.
  • J For Jetpack Let’s Hear it For Reluctant Heroes
  •  Discusses “Writing the Holiday Tie-in” on Nov. 13
  • The Squealing Nerd, Review of The Dread

Trick or Treat wouldn’t be complete without Treats!  In this case, book excerpts—some mine, and many from my author friends.  Enjoy!

From my friends at Dark Oak Press—a sampler platter of delights!



From my Broad Universe friends, the Wicked, Wild and Whimsical Words Tour:

From E Rose Sabin

  •  or  or

From Linda Nightingale

  • Cardinal Desires:
  • Sinners’ Opera:
  • We Shadows:
  • Danse Macabre:
  • Artificial Gods:

From John Hartless


From Charlene Roberts


From Ben Manning


And some of mine:

  • An excerpt from Buttons, the Deadly Curiosities Adventure that inspired the upcoming novel:
  • An excerpt from Among the Shoals Forever, from the Deadly Curiosities Adventures—one of my scariest yet!
  • An excerpt from Reign of Ash (1 of 4)
  • An excerpt from Raider’s Curse, in the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures–
  • An excerpt from The Low Road, from the Deadly Curiosities Adventures
  • An excerpt from Ice Forged, Book 1 in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga:
  • An audio excerpt from Stormgard from the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures–
  • An audio excerpt from Wild Hunt in the Deadly Curiosities Adventures:
  • An audio excerpt from Storm Surge from the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures:
  • Fantasy Faction (Marc Aplin:
  • Falcata Times (Gareth Wilson:
  • J For Jetpack (Paul Wiseall:
  • No Cloaks Allowed / Gav Reads (Gavin Pugh:
  • Speculative Scotsman (Niall Alexander:—all-new interview plus an excerpt from Reign of Ash

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized