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Days of the Dead Blog Tour Is Spooktacular!

DaysofDead Banner V1 copy

So many exciting things happening all at once for my Days of the Dead blog tour!

RisingShadow has an exclusive Q&A with me about Vendetta, Shadow & Flame, Iron & Blood and what’s coming up next, plus switching up genres. It’s all here:

DOTD3Then Beauty In Ruins gets me talking about Ghosts and Genre, and how the type of ghost and the way ghosts are portrayed differs by the sub-genre

Fellow author Catherine Lundoff and I chat about ghosts in alternate history stories, and the how/why of weaving in ghostly elements in Steampunk

I posted about Moonlight and Magic for the Broad Universe Full Moon Blog Tour

A Night Sky with Moon and Trees

Speaking of the Full Moon tour—there are 30 awesome moon-related posts on the tour and three awesome book prize packages. You can find the posts here: and the Rafflecopter contests here (make sure you click on the arrow in the box—there are 3 contests)


I’m doing a giveaway on Reddit/Fantasy for a set of 3 of my books in either physical or ebook (Kindle/Kobo/Nook)—2 winners, lots of fun! Books are War of Shadows, Deadly Curiosities and Iron & Blood. Details here    Ends 10/30.

TWO Goodreads giveaways (one for Iron & Blood and one for Deadly Curiosities) post on 10/29, so make sure you enter for a chance to win! Watch for details—I’ll post the links when they go live.

On a slightly more serious note….Did you know that just because you’ve signed up for my Winter Kingdoms Facebook page, that doesn’t mean Facebook will let you see what I post? It’s true—Facebook has gotten greedy, and if you don’t pay to do ads or boosted posts, only about 1% – 3% of followers see what is posted. If you want to make sure you always know about new books, stories, novellas, events and giveaways, please join my Chronicles newsletter. It’s free, you’ll get excerpts and flash fiction, and you’ll get the scoop first! Sign up here:

And don’t forget The Swaggiest Swag giveaway. If you like bookmarks, postcards and cool free stuff from bestselling authors, this is for you. I’m one of 11 authors who are giving away neat stuff for just the cost of a self-addressed/stamped envelope. Find out more here:

Have you read War of Shadows yet? Try an excerpt here:

MonstrositiesHow about an excerpt from Monstrosities, an uber-creepy Jonmarc Vahanian story just right for Halloween! Monstrosities:

By the way, here’s where to find me for the rest of 2015:

Nov. 7             University City library event 2-3 pm Meet the Author

Nov. 10           Charlotte Writers’ Club SF/F Writer’s Club at Mugs Coffee

Nov. 13 – 15   Atomacon, Charleston

Nov. 20 – 22   Philcon, NJ—The Weird Wild West/The Side of Good/Vendetta launch party

Dec. 29            Vendetta launches

Stay tuned—there’s a LOT more Days of the Dead goodness coming your way!


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The Days of the Dead Blog Tour is in Full Swing!


…and you won’t want to miss a moment of it! Here are the latest links from my blogging hosts!

No More Grumpy Bookseller—Something Wicked and Wonderful This Way Comes

The Evolution of Ruin Creek, our story for The Weird Wild West, is on Espec Books

I get talking about how ghosts are different depending on the difference between urban fantasy and horror with the crew at We Geek Girls    DOTD5

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan asks me about using real people and places in fiction, and I respond

Over at The Scribbling Lion, I get chatting about moonlight, monsters and mayhem

Then Alexandra Christian get talking about how ghosts are different depending on whether the story is horror, suspense or urban fantasy 

How do you like your alternate history? Romance Bandits finds out!

Two cool giveaways begin on Thursday, 10/29, with free copies to be won on Goodreads of Deadly Curiosities and Iron & Blood here 10/29-11/14 and here 10/29-11/14

A Night Sky with Moon and Trees

Don’t forget the Broad Universe Full Moon blog, which has 30 fun posts from participating authors (including me!) and a big gift card and book giveaway! Find all the cool blogs here

Details on the giveaway here (there are 3 different ones—be sure to click the link in the Rafflecopter box ttps://

It’s not too late to get in on The Swaggiest Swag and get an envelope full of top author book marks, postcards and cool freebies all for a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Details here: ttps://  swag

And in case you missed the illustrated flip-book Kickstarter for The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, the full book is now available for pre-order on Amazon here or you can buy each ‘side’ independently! The Side of Good –  The Side of Evil –

Good-EvilKeep checking back–there are a lot more giveaways, fun blogs and surprises coming up!

Trick or Treat! Enjoy a new excerpt

Read an excerpt from my latest Ascendant Kingdoms Saga novel, War of Shadows, here:

Have you read my free, complete Deadly Curiosities novella—The Final Death? Get it here on Wattpad, just in time for Halloween  The Final Death

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Full Moon Blog Tour: Moonlight and Magic

A Night Sky with Moon and Trees

Welcome! This post is part of the Broad Universe Full Moon Blog Tour! To find out more about the 30 authors included in the tour click here:

 and the three prize packages of ebooks and gift vouchers, please click on the Broad Universe photo! (Enter via the Rafflecopter link at the bottom of this post.)

What is it about the full moon, madness and magic? Maybe it’s how otherworldly everything looks by moonlight, or how strange it is to have light at night.

We’ve been intrigued with the moon for all of human history, speculating about its course in the heavens, linking it to the gods, making it the personification of the goddess, ascribing supernatural power to it and its light. The full moon is, of course, traditionally the bane of werewolves and all were-creatures, since it calls forth their inner magic as an irresistible compulsion. Interestingly enough, we always seem to think of the moon as female.

Pretty cool for something that’s really a very large rock. I’ve always been especially intrigued by the way the moon factors into magic. Directions for many spells indicate that they should only be done at certain phases of the moon. According to practitioners, the moon is instrumental in a wide spectrum of magic, from divination to clearing negativity, from spells for wealth and love to healing. More on that here and  here.

Of course, in more primitive times, the connection of the moon’s cycles with tides, planting and animal/bird migration must have seemed miraculous–or magical. No doubt that’s one reason the moon figures so prominently in religion and folklore. Even the faces of the goddess in her Maiden/Mother/Crone aspects are linked to the phases of the moon. And whether or not science can substantiate it, we ascribe all kinds of odd behavior to the full moon.

Depending on who you ask, people will swear that there are more drunken brawls, more emergency room visits, more crazy behavior during a full moon. They say coyotes howl more and lions are more dangerous. Don’t get me started on werewolves and vampires. Even the concept of menstruation has long been linked to the lunar cycle, giving it the old name of ‘moon days’.  There’s some pretty interesting research showing that life on earth is deeply affected by moonlight.

Birth and death, fertility and fear–all of it tied up with the silvery light in the sky. If  you’ve ever been camping during the dark of the moon, you get an idea of how our ancestors must have valued moonlight. Beyond the reach of electric lights, it’s really, really dark. (Yes, I know that’s somewhat obvious, but dark in a city doesn’t compare to dark in the middle of the ocean or dark in the forest when there’s no moon.

Without moonlight, the darkness seems to be alive, a smothering, dangerous entity. Just you and your puny little candle or lantern, against the big, bad darkness. Boo!

Now about the giveaway drawing for those gift vouchers and ebooks….Here’s the link to enter! a Rafflecopter giveaway


What’s Halloween without some Trick or Treat goodies?

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

Trick or Treat! Excerpt from my new urban fantasy novel Vendetta set in my Deadly Curiosities world here Launches Dec. 29

More Treats! Enter to win a copy of Deadly Curiosities!

Treats! Enter to win a copy of Iron & Blood!

Spooky stuff from Broad Universe member Jean Marie Ward Cooking Up a Storm

And another from fellow Broad Danielle Ackley-McPhail’s Yesterday’s Dreams

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 stories by author friends of mine! You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies just like Trick or Treat! Details here

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Coming Attractions!

DaysofDead Banner V1 copy

A Night Sky with Moon and Trees

A Night Sky with Moon and Trees


It’s almost Halloween! And do you know what that means?  Yeah–Trick or Treat!

And there are some AWESOME treats coming your way!  First is my annual Days of the Dead blog tour!  This year it’s bigger and better than EVER! I’m a guest blogger on over 40 blogs, and there will be at least seven great giveaways! Expect surprises, cool freebies and links where you can download excerpts from my books and from dozens of my author friends.  All that goodness starts October 24 and I’ll have a new post to send you to my guest blogs on all the participating sites so you can grab all the goodies!

Then on October 25, The Full Moon Blog Tour from Broad Universe kicks of with 30 different authors! I’m part of that, too, so keep watching on this blog because I’ll have a post that will help you find the other blogs on the tour AND the three awesome prize packages of gift vouchers/ebooks on our Rafflecopter giveaway!

WWW cover

There’s also a Goodreads giveaway for The Weird Wild West anthology (featuring a Storm and Fury Adventure story by Larry and me set in our Iron & Blood universe) that runs through Nov. 30! Sign up here

BUT WAIT–there’s MORE!  Now through October 31, you can grab The Swaggiest Swag!  11 bestselling authors including Faith Hunter, John Hartness, Darynda Jones, Stuart Jaffe, Christina Harris, Laura Anne Gilman–and me–are offering you awesome shiny swag for the cost of a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Details here!


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Weir Magic Excerpt–Countdown on Alien Artifacts Kickstarter

Zombies Needs Brains, LLC, the book publisher run by Joshua Palmatier and co-edited by Patricia Bray, is in the final hours for its DOUBLE anthology Kickstarter, Alien Artifacts and Were-. The Alien Artifacts part is pretty clear–stories about all the otherworldly stuff extraterrestrials carelessly leave behind where humans can get their hands on them, and the adventures/dangers that causes. Larry and I will be doing a story in our Iron & Blood universe, with the Department of Supernatural Investigation riding to the rescue once again.AlienArtifacts

The second anthology is Were-, meaning shapeshifting creatures that are anything EXCEPT wolves. Werebears? Go ahead. Were-hamsters? Maybe. Just no wolves.  The two anthologies 14 all-original (no reprint) short stories each from established SF&F authors in the field—including Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Phyllis Ames, Jacey Bedford, Patricia Bray, David B. Coe, David Farland/Dave Wolverton, C.S. Friedman, Walter H. Hunt, Faith Hunter, Katharine Kerr, Gini Koch, Sharon Lee, Gail Z. Martin, Larry N. Martin, Seanan McGuire, Juliet E. McKenna, Steve Miller, and Jean Marie Ward, plus others. In fact, since we have not only funded but hit a couple of stretch goals, the anthology has open submission slots to add even more awesome stories!

You can see more for yourselves and become a backer here:

One of those authors, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, gives us a sneak-peek of her work-in-progress for the Were- anthology!

An Excerpt from Weir Magic

by Danielle Ackley-McPhail


Den Jeger wore the ivory shard sheathed at his hip like a dagger. His hand rested on the butt of the trophy as his thumb worried the raw edge on one side where the slice had not been clean, leaving a crescent-shaped scar behind. As his skin ran across the surface it kindled a faint burn that ran from his thumb tip up his arm toward his heart. He stilled in midstride on the busy sidewalk. Pedestrians dodged around him, some more carefully than others. He ignored the grumbling and out-and-out curses. He even ignored the shoulder slams and rough shoves. Years of practice made that possible. He closed his eyes as his breath stilled in his chest. He waited, but the sensation quickly faded. Over the course of his prolonged pursuit he had learned to pay attention to that sensation. More than once it had guided him to his prey.

Not this time, though. Once it was gone, it was gone. Growling, he spat into the gutter and continued on his way, shoving and grumbling with the best of those around him. More protests rose in his wake as he cut across the pedestrian flow to head down a side street. What he was looking for he wouldn’t find on the main concourse. Settling on the stoop of a nearby brownstone, Den drew out his phone and thumbed on the data. Within moments he opened a browser and called up the address for the nearest internet café. Fifteen minutes later he sat down at a beat-up monitor and keyboard tucked in the most private corner he could find at Java Web, a place so ubiquitous to others he had frequented across the continent that he felt almost at home.

First he scanned his google alerts for any telltales that might have popped up but nothing new surfaced about either Donovan Clooney or An Rógaire. From there he popped into the message boards and forums he regularly lurked through. He could have done all this on his phone, but he preferred to minimize his electronic footprint, much as he would the physical during a hunt. He surfed a few moments more, throwing in some random sites to confuse anyone who might be paying attention, then returned to some of his secondary information sources.


But he knew the monster was close, or another of its kind else the shard wouldn’t have reacted. He could not lose this opportunity. If he couldn’t pick up the trail Den would need to find a lure. Unfortunately, in this day and age, purity was nearly as difficult to track down as his prey which meant he had to step up his search. With a few clicks he cleared the computer’s temp files and browser histories and shoved away from the monitor, bumping past those waiting for his spot.

Once more he went out into the tumult of the city, hand resting on the shard. A faint burn ran from his thumb tip up his arm toward his heart and settled there. Den Jeger grinned fiercely, his stride lengthening as he took up the trail of a monster out of myth and legend, ready to avenge his brother’s death.


So what are you waiting for? Go out and reserve a copy for your own while there’s still time! In fact, there are some AWESOME reward levels left to grab, including Tuckerizations, and we’re almost to a new stretch goal that unlocks THREE extra ebooks! But HURRY–the Kickstarter ends at noon TODAY!

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DragonCon and New Stories!

It’s that time of the year again! Here’s my NEARLY final DragonCon schedule! Waiting to find out my signing time at Larry Smith Books….It’s gonna be a busy con!

Grave VoicesIn between panels, I’ll be in Author’s Lair Booths 1223 & 1225 in the Vendor room with lots of books to sell! And after hours, look for me in the Westin bar with the rest of the writers.

Title: Mission Statement: Objectives in Urban Fantasy
Description: Authors discuss stated protagonist goals in the genre: protecting the human world from the supernatural, or vice versa.
Time: Fri 10:00 am Location: Chastain ED – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Faith Hunter, Carrie Vaughn, S. J. Harper, Julie Kenner, Eric R Asher, Gail Z. Martin)

Title: Race and Gender Issues in Alternate History
Description: The treatment of race and gender in the Alternate History genre.
Time: Fri 11:30 am Location: Augusta 3 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Milton J Davis, D.B. Jackson, Gail Z. Martin, Clay and Susan Griffith)

Title: Fictional Writing and Skepticism
Description: A few top authors, who are also Skeptics, discuss what effect their personal skepticism has on their writings.
Time: Fri 01:00 pm Location: 204-207 – Hilton (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Scott Sigler, Michael Stackpole, Tom Merritt, Gail Z. Martin)

Title: Broad Universe Reading
Description: The ladies of Broad Universe read snippets from their work.
Time: Fri 07:00 pm Location: Embassy A-B – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Trisha J. Woldridge, Gail Z. Martin, Kathryn Hinds)

Title: Authors Roundtable: Using Podcasting to Deliver Your Story
Description: Roundtable discussions of working writers who utilize Podcasting to distribute and promote their work.
Time: Sat 10:00 am Location: 203 – Hilton (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Scott Sigler, Gail Z. Martin, Bobby Nash, Michael Stackpole)

The Restless DeadTitle: Navigating the Media/Online Frenzy
Description: Facebook? What else is out there? How does a savvy writer generate exciting “buzz” about a book and promote sales?
Time: Sat 11:30 am Location: Embassy D-F – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Jean Marie Ward, Gail Z. Martin, Tom Merritt, Michael Z. Williamson, Mike Faber)


Signing in the Vendor Room at The Missing Page 2 pm

Title: Haunted Ground: Ghosts and Other Traumas
Description: The importance of setting in horror fiction
Time: Sat 05:30 pm Location: Peachtree 1-2 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Karen E. Taylor, Gail Z. Martin, Madeleine Roux, L. Andrew Cooper, Peter Adam Salomon)

Title: Steampunk/Magepunk/Dieselpunk?
Description: Steampunk branches out! Tips for the market for the Punk genres.
Time: Sat 08:30 pm Location: Embassy D-F – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Lisa Mantchev, Stephen L. Antczak, Gail Z. Martin, Anthony Francis)


Resurrection DaySigning/Sitting at the SFWA table in the Hyatt Noon – 1 pm


Title: Reading: Gail Z. Martin
Time: Sun 01:00 pm Location: Marietta – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Gail Z. Martin)

Title: Down and Dirty Marketing for Authors
Description: Navigating the new world of e-publishing, and why print is still an important medium for any author platform.
Time: Sun 04:00 pm Location: 201 – Hilton (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Sascha Illyvich, Gail Z. Martin, Jennie Breeden)

Title: Realms of the Dead: Ghosts and Spirits in UF
Description: Panelists discuss the various types of ghosts and spirits found in the genre
Time: Mon 10:00 am Location: Chastain ED – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Jim Butcher, Leanna Renee Hieber, Gail Z. Martin, D.B. Jackson, Karen E. Taylor, Myke Cole)


RetributionNoon-1 Signing at The Missing Page in the vendor room


In other news….our new Steampunk novella, Grave Voices–set in the world of Iron & Blood–is FREE on Wattpad and it’s also a Featured Story! You can read it here

Also a couple of new short stories on Kindle/Kobo/Nook with more to come! Resurrection Day is also a steampunk story from our Storm and Fury Adventures in the Iron & Blood world. The Restless Dead and Retribution are new Deadly Curiosities Adventures set in modern-day Charleston. And Season 2 of the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures ended with Desperate Flight–watch for Season 3 in 2016!

Coming soon: My Days of the Dead blog tour at the end of October, and news about the new Deadly Curiosities novel, Vendetta, coming in December!

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Launch Day for Iron & Blood!

Larry and I so excited to see Iron & Blood in stores and online! It’s our new Steampunk novel set in an alternative history Pittsburgh in 1898. Airships, clockwork zombies, Gatling guns, mad scientists, inventors, carriage chases and much, much more. You can read an excerpt here

GZM_Iron_and_Blood_205x330It’s still the Hawthorn Moon blog tour, and we’ve had guest blogs in a lot of places. In case you missed them, here’s where to find the scoop (and there will be more to come!):

Interview with I Smell Sheep blog
We spill secrets to RisingShadow
A look at the Pittsburgh of Iron & Blood for Daily Steampunk
The Victorians That Weren’t on GeekNative 
Why Mary Sue Must Die! For SciFiChick
Zebra Eclipse chats us up on the future of publishing
Darin Kennedy got us talking about The Charleston of Deadly Curiosities
Why are there so few older characters in fantasy?
Larry and I talk co-authoring on SitWriteBleed
WeGeekGirls wanted to know about Kickstarter publishing
FantasyBookCritic asked about literary collaboration
Magical Words found out 5 things to Remember for your Blog Tour
SFSignal asked what it’s like co-writing with your spouse

In case you missed it with the holiday, Season 2 of Deadly Curiosities Adventures short stories kicked off with Shadow Garden! Haunted gardens and old family curses make for an uber-creepy good time! Order hereShadow Garden

Grab your copy of Iron & Blood at the Congregate launch party this weekend! Here’s our schedule—please make sure you come by and say hi!

Here’s our Congregate schedule:

Dead is Dead 1pm Friday
Weird Wild West (m) 4pm Friday
Defining Rogues 5pm Friday
Kickstarting Things 6pm Friday
Privilege: The Prince and the Pauper (m) 8pm Friday
Reading 9pm Friday
Dr. Who through a Woman’s Eyes 10pm Friday
Signing 10am Saturday
Live Action Slush Pile 2pm Saturday
Book Launch 4:30pm Saturday
Broad Universe Reading 8pm Saturday
Signing 10am Sunday
Absinthe and Airships 11am Sunday
Beyond Spandex Studs (m) 1pm Sunday

And it’s not just Iron & Blood’s launch week! You can grab hot new books from John Hartness, Lou Anders, Chris Kennedy, Clay and Susan Griffith and more! The Congregate launch party will have new books from John, Chris, Larry and me, Darin Kennedy, and Matthew Saunders! No excuse for not grabbing a fist-full of beach/vacation reading!

MonstersI’m involved in a couple of Kickstarters that are all active. Monsters! from Silence in the Library is all about monster stories (imagine that!) and the campaign is in its last hours. If we hit the $10K stretch goal, I get to write a story for it. Here’s the link to become a backer.

The Side of Good/The Side of Evil is a flipbook of heroes and villains. I’m writing a villain story, so please take a look! Good-Evil

Can you imagine a superhero nursing home for crime-fighters who are past their prime? Elysian Springs: Adventures from the Superhero Nursing Home can! I’ll have a story in it, so check it out here.Elysian

Next up after Congregate is Confluence in Pittsburgh, with another Iron & Blood book launch party and a signing at the Barnes & Noble in Cranberry, PA. Come by and say hello!


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Annual Hawthorn Moon Blog Tour is Bigger and Better Than Ever!

I&B final coverIt’s time for the annual Hawthorn Moon blog tour to celebrate our two new books (and one more coming up!) plus share some guest posts, do some fun giveaways and online parties and connect!

What’s all the fuss about? Well, two new books and more! War of Shadows, Book #3 in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, came out in April. If you liked Ice Forged and Reign of Ash, you won’t want to miss it! And on July 7, Iron and Blood, the new steampunk book co-authored with my husband, Larry N. Martin, comes out from Solaris Books–and it’s set in an alternative history Pittsburgh! I guarantee you, it’s chock-full of explosions and gunfire.

Do you need more? I’ve got new upcoming conventions and signings, new short stories and novellas, new giveaways and cool stuff! It’s a week-long party, and my readers get all the goodies!

War of Shadows

War of Shadows

The blog tour got its name from a holiday in The Summoner, my first Chronicles of the Necromancer book, which took place on the summer solstice. And the name stuck. So–celebrate the solstice with some new books, new insights, and plenty of goings-on!

On June 25, I’m hosing an all-day live Facebook Launch Party with a few dozen of my author friends. We’ll be having a grand time–and you’re invited! In fact, bring all your friends! The more the merrier. My author guests will be sharing contests and giveaways plus excerpts and freebies. It’s going to be FUN!

10:30 – 11 Me
11 – 11:30 Jeanne Adams
11:30 – Noon Joshua Palmatier
Noon – 12:30 Keith DeCandido
12:30 – 1 Anthology round-up
1-1:30 Janine Spendlove
1:30 – 2 Alex Matsuo
2-2:30 Stuart Jaffe
2:30 – 3 Me
3 – 3:30 John Hartness
3:30 – 4 Michael Sullivan
4-4:30 ZNB
4:30 – 5 MB Weston
5-5:30 TBD
5:30 – 6 JeanMarie Ward
5:50—Me—giveaway announcement
6-6:30 Michael Ventrella
6:30 – 7 Clay and Susan Griffith
7-7:30 Misty Massey
7:30 – 8 Broad Universe
8-8:30 Alexandra Christian
8:30 – 9 Kelly Harmon
9-9:30 Pete Prellwitz
9:30 – 10 Danielle Ackley McPhail
10-10:30 Tee Morris
10:30-11 Me

I’ll also be posting a giveaway on Reddit/Fantasy with some copies of Iron and Blood and War of Shadows. Stay tuned to this blog or my Twitter and Facebook pages to find out when and where.

What’s a blog tour without blog posts? I’ll be a guest on a bunch of blogs throughout North America and Europe over the next week or so–here are some of the sites that are hosting my posts! Check back here and on Twitter, because I’ll add links to the posts as they go live.
I Smell Sheep
Daily Steampunk
Orbit Books
Solaris Books
No More Grumpy Bookseller
SFF World
Fantasy Faction
The Qwillery
Fantasy Book Critic
SF Signal
Sit Write Bleed
Disquieting Visions
Magical Words
Ghost InTheMachine Podcast
With more to be added!

That’s what’s coming up–you won’t want to miss a thing! And if you want to catch up with me live and in-person at a convention or signings, check out my schedule on the events page.

See you at the online party!

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My Wild, Wild Weird Wild West Secret Connection

I write epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk. So what am I doing in the Weird Wild West Kickstarter anthology?

neon cowboy


Well, technically, the Wild West happened during the ‘steampunk’ years—our Civil War era and Westward expansion happened while England was having its Victorian period.

And the two Department of Supernatural Investigation agents you may have met in my stories in Clockwork Universe: Steampunk Vs. Aliens and Dreams of Steel 5, who also play a big role in Iron and Blood (our new steampunk novel coming in July) would have been out West during part of the Cowboy Era.

But here’s the real connection—my parents were Sioux. No, really—I know I don’t look it, but it’s true. And here’s the story about how a city kid from Reading, PA fulfilled a life-long dream to witness a vanishing history, meet survivors from the Battle of Little Big Horn and get adopted into the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

My parents on their adoption day

My parents on their adoption day

My dad, Dr. Luther R. Zehner, was born in 1923, and he fell in love with Native American lore when he was growing up in a row house in the textile mill town of Reading.  Wild West stories like the Lone Ranger and books by authors like Will James and Frank Linderman sparked his imagination.  He was inspired by tales of adventurers and explorers who left the cities of the East and learned the ways and language of Native Americans, and that inspiration changed the course of his life.

Dad graduated from Juniata College and earned his medical degree from Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia.  He finished his residency in Surgery at Harrisburg Hospital, Dr. Zehner married his college sweetheart, Frances—my mom–in August of 1949.  Together, they headed for Standing Rock Reservation near Fort Yates, ND, where Dad had received a staff appointment as a physician in the reservation hospital, and Mom had been hired to teach in the reservation school. (This was 13 years before I was born, so I missed it!)

Mom and Dad fully embraced the culture of the Lakota (Sioux) with whom they worked.  Dad learned to speak the Sioux language, and forged deep friendships with tribal elders Alex Sage, Patrick Rattling Hail and Judge Francis B. Zahn.  It was at Standing Rock where they also met and became close personal friends with photographer Frank Bennett Fiske and he and his wife, Angela.Collector

Dad sought out the oldest members of the tribe, and recorded their oral histories, encouraging them to recount legends and stories and to talk about life before the reservation. He recorded their songs and drumming on audio tape and with a film camera, and interviewed the survivors of the Battle of Little Big Horn, who were by then in their 90s. One of the most thrilling moments of his life was going out to the Custer battlefield with an elderly Native American battle survivor who gave him a first-hand account of what it was like on that day long ago.

Members of the tribe noted the passion and respect Dad and Mom had for their culture.  Dad was also deeply aware that the legacy of the elders seemed to be slipping away in the busy post-war period.  He began to purchase artifacts, documenting the history of the pieces in his journals and with his camera.  He was particularly interested in pieces from the late 1900s and the early part of the Twentieth Century, and in items made according to the old ways by contemporary craftspeople.

In July of 1950, my parents were adopted into the Sioux tribe in a formal ceremony.  Frank Fiske took photos of them dressed in full authentic ceremonial clothing. Custer battle survivor Spotted Bear “gave” Dad his tribal name so that Luther became “Spotted Bear.”  Mom’s new name translated as “Morning Star.”

Mom passed away in 2009 at age 89, and Dad died at age 90 in 2013. He passed away just three weeks after a Native American delegation came to the nursing home where he resided to honor his birthday with drumming and dancing.

You can see the photo of Dad and Mom on their tribal adoption day , along with some fun graphics about the Weird Wild West anthology. And here’s the interview I did with the Weird Wild West publisher about my inspiration:


By the way—there’s still time to fund the anthology and get 12 extra rewards, including a sneak peek chapter from our new Iron and Blood novel, my Deadly Curiosities Adventures story Collector and The Final Death, as well as a 400 pg. steampunk & zombie book!  There’s still time to jump on the covered wagon and pony up a couple of greenbacks!

Here’s the Weird Wild West Kickstarter link to learn more, see the rewards and become a backer:

Steampunk & Cowboys!

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Q&A with Tom Doyle

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

My debut novel from Tor, American Craftsmen, is a contemporary fantasy of military intrigue with a cryptohistorical backstory that imagines that Poe and Hawthorne wrote thinly veiled nonfiction. It’s available everywhere books are sold in hardcover and e-versions (e.g., The mass-market paperback will be out at the end of June 2015, and the sequel, The Left-Hand Way, will be out in August 2015.

2. What inspired your new book or story?

To my own surprise, one of my initial inspirations for this book was L. Frank Baum. When he began telling children’s stories, he had the notion of discarding the existing European folk tales and building a fantasy that was modern and distinctly American. That’s how we got The Wizard of Oz.

I wasn’t going to write a children’s story, but the thought of confining myself to a U.S. mythos for an adult fantasy was oddly exciting. With plenty of books retelling European myths and folklore, it seemed like our own stories had been neglected. I looked at American folklore, but I ended up spending more time with the great early American writers of the fantastic.

3. How do you research your stories?

For American Craftsmen, I had to read or re-read a lot of the American classics of the fantastic or uncanny. I also had to check on various historical incidents where I have my craftspeople at work. For my research on special ops, besides general histories and first-person accounts, I consulted a childhood friend who had served in special forces during the First Gulf War.

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

On Facebook:

On Twitter: @tmdoyle2

On Goodread:
On Google+:
My website:

Click here to listen to a reading of American Craftsmen on our sister site.

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