Tag Archives: short stories

Three All-New Short Stories Now on Kindle (And coming soon to Nook, Kobo and iBooks)

by Gail Z. Martin

Now that Ice Forged is in bookstores everyone (and topping the Amazon charts on both sides of the Atlantic—thank you readers!), and the sequel is already in the hands of my editor, it’s time to unveil new short stories coming each month to ebook!

If you like pirates, magic, vampires, and cursed objects, try my new Deadly Curiosities Adventures.  The first two stories, Vanities and Steer a Pale Course, are now on ebook—with more all-new, never-before-published stories to come.

If you liked my Chronicles of the Necromancer and Fallen Kings Cycle series and want more Jonmarc Vahanian excitement, I’ve got new stories just for you, starting with Raider’s Curse!

Ever wonder how Jonmarc Vahanian became the most dangerous warrior of his generation? How he earned the bounties on his head? What really happened in Nargi?  And where he got that scar? My new Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures take you back to the beginning, and I’m planning to tell his story all the way up to where he meets up with four young men running for their lives who need to hire a guide.

And if you haven’t grabbed Ice Forged, what are you waiting for?  It’s in trade paperback wherever books are sold, and also on Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks.

Here’s more about those new short stories….

The Deadly Curiosities Adventures

This series of adventures spans over 500 years, from the 1500s to modern day as a small cabal of vampires and their human helpers battle supernatural enemies to find and destroy dangerous magical items and keep the world safe from dark forces.

Vanities—Jewel thief and newly-turned vampire Sorren sets out to steal a priceless brooch possessed by an ancient evil before it sets the Black Dragon loose in medieval Antwerp.

Steer a Pale Course—Two young fishermen in post-Revolutionary America are forced to retrieve a deadly object from an ancient burial mound or face the vengeance of raiders who have taken their village hostage.

The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures

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

Raiders’ Curse—The legend begins.  When sea raiders threaten the villages along the Margolan coast, young Jonmarc Vahanian risks everything to save his family.

“Like” my Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms page to get all the news first when new short stories are ready to post plus con photos and other news—or just hang out and chat!

Are you on Twitter?  Follow me @GailZMartin for updates on signings, funny stuff and sort-of witty conversation.

Join me on Goodreads for a new writing-related group every month—we talk about favorite books, how to get published, and other stuff you won’t want to miss.  Friend me at https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin

Come hang out with me at a con!

I’m everywhere from New York to Arizona in the coming months—and I do it to talk with readers!  So come by and see me!

  • Feb. 15 I’ll be signing Ice Forged at the Books a Million at Cotswold from 1-3
  • Feb. 16 I’ll be signing Ice Forged at the Barnes & Noble in Pineville, NC from 2-4
  • I’ll be back in Roanoke for Mysticon Feb. 22 – 24—Ice Forged Launch Party is Saturday night!
  • I’ll be at Lunacon March 15 – 17 in Rye Brook, NY
  • Look for me at the Arizona Renaissance Festival (near Phoenix) signing books March 23-24
  • I’ll be at Ravencon in Richmond, VA April 5 – 7.
  • Going to Balticon in Hunt Valley MC May 24-27
  • Come see me at ConCarolina in Charlotte, NC May 31 – June 2
  • I’ll be at Dragon*Con Labor Day weekend!

That’s all for now—but watch for new short stories, updates on upcoming new books and new signings and events on Twitter and Facebook.  And whether you stop by at an event or catch me online—let’s connect!

May I ask a small favor?  If you enjoy the books and short stories, please tell your friends, share a link on Twitter or Facebook or put a review on Amazon.  I’d really appreciate it!

Thank you for reading—because readers like you give me a reason to keep on writing.

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An excerpt from my short story, “Vanities”, available free for a limited time on my Winter Kingdoms page on Facebook.

by Gail Z. Martin

I followed Alard through the winding, cobblestone streets, taking every opportunity to twist my neck to see the buildings around me.  I hadn’t existed for enough centuries to become jaded yet, and part of me hoped I never would.  Even Alard, as old as he was, still managed to have a spark of curiosity about him.  He’d told me once that the vampires who survived the changing times were the ones who never stopped being curious.  Then he told me that by that measure, I’d outlive them all.  I’m still not sure whether that was meant to be a good thing or not.  I took it as a plus.  So far, being dead (perhaps ‘undead’ was a better word) had been good to me.

Alard stopped in front of a small shop several streets behind the waterfront.  A sign said “Vanities,” and, from the window I could see that it was one of the antiques and curio shops that Alard favoured.

“In here.  Be quick about it.”  Alard motioned for me to maneuver our bags through the narrow door.  The shop looked closed.  I was about to protest that breaking into a shop might attract the attention we were trying to escape, when a lamp flared behind us, its glow shaded to avoid making it too easy for passers-by to see.

“Alard. Come in.”

I put the bags where Alard bid and followed as Alard and our host continued, more than began, a lively conversation.  Two things stood out to me: they were obviously old friends, and our host was clearly mortal.

“Drink this.”  Alard must have known that after the voyage my hunger might endanger our host.  I usually had good control, but it wasn’t wise to be in close quarters with such fresh, delicious blood when I hadn’t eaten.  He handed me a goblet of blood, goat blood by the smell, and although while not my favourite, I was hungry enough not to quibble.

“I thought you might be hungry, so there’s a flagon for each of you.”  For the first time, I got a good look at our host.  He was an older man, perhaps in his late sixties.  Spry but beginning to show his age.  He had a bald head with wisps of white hair that refused to lie flat.  He squinted like a scholar, and he wore a jacket that looked worn at the elbows.  “I’m Carel.  Welcome to Antwerp.  You must be Sorren.”

Carel motioned for us both to take a seat.  We were in a fairly large sitting room.  Everywhere I looked there were manuscripts: old, leather-bound illuminated manuscripts, and such a multitude of trifles and treasures that I hardly knew where to look first.  The books alone would have been worth a small fortune.  Alard had been expanding my thiefly education to recognize value that the commoner might overlook.

“What do you see, Sorren?”  Alard downplayed my guesses that he could, as my maker, at least partly read my thoughts.  But there were too damn many coincidences for me to doubt.  I’d learned to keep my mouth shut when I was mortal.  Now, I’d learned to keep unflattering comments in the back of my head, where they hadn’t quite taken form as words.  I was grumbling a bit to myself like that now, and if Alard read it, he didn’t respond.

“I see pottery, probably Greek, definitely ancient.  The gold jewellery on the desk: Egyptian. I’d have to be up close to know the dynasty. The brooches on the shelf are ancient Celtic.  Nice work, too.  From the number of manuscripts, I’d guess someone ransacked a monastery. The inlaid box is a miracle, but I’ve no idea where it comes from.”

“India,” Carel replied offhandedly.  “Not surprised you couldn’t place that.”

“You’re a collector?”

Carel gave a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.  “Of sorts. It was dark in the shop when you came in, and we hurried you through, so you probably didn’t get much of a look around.  I deal in treasures and antiquities, most legal; some not so much.”

“You’re our fence.”

Carel chuckled.  “Really, Alard.  You can take the thief out of the alley, but have you taken the alley out of the thief?  I prefer ‘merchant,’ thank you.”

Before we could quibble more over wording, the door opened.  Alard moved before the handle turned, and I was just a blink behind him.  Without a word, we’d both flattened ourselves against the ceiling.  Mortals rarely look up when they’re indoors.

“You’re at the shop late, aren’t you?”  A young man walked into the room, and from his manner and the resemblance, I knew he had to be Carel’s son.  To my surprise, he glanced upwards.  “Hello, Alard.  You need to change your hiding place.”

Alard grinned and drifted down to the floor.  I followed him.  “No one but you ever looks up in here, Dietger.”


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The secret of writing short

by Bud Sparhawk

Several years ago, after I had a few stories published and wrote my first Nebula finalist (Primrose & Thorn), I was invited to dinner by four accomplished novelists. I listened with rapt attention as they spoke knowingly of agents and contracts, of royalties and galleys, and talked with the ease of experience about book launches, autographing, and the other things that seldom impact a short story writer’s life.  This was heady stuff and I reveled in being graced to be among their number.

Yet, as the evening wore on, I began to wonder why I had been invited to sit among this prestigious group since not only had I not written a novel, but the possibility of embarking on the long and arduous task of writing long had not yet crossed my mind.  Were they going to give me the secret of writing huge works?  Were they about to give me the keys to novelist heaven?  Were they going to impart the secrets of the book?  I waited, growing more concerned and anxious as the evening wore on through salad, entree, desert, coffee, and finally drinks.

Finally the leader of this pack of wolves turned to the lamb among them and said: “Bud, how do you manage to sell to Analog?  What’s the secret of writing short?”

I forget what I said, but most likely it was “Huh?”  That was my first glimpse of something that I have debated ever since that night: why can some people produce novels with seemingly little effort while others struggle to produce more than a few thousand words at a time? What quirk of mind causes a novelist to spend fifty pages on an action that a short story writer dismisses in a sentence?  Why does no one go to the bathroom in a shorter work while novel characters detail every aspect of their daily ablutions?  And why in the world does the novelist allow dozens of characters to creep into their story, diverting the plot this way and that, pestering the protagonist with niggling, bothersome trivia that prevents resolution of the central issue chapter after chapter?  Why do they insist on burying the core of the story with excessive detail and descriptions?

Why can’t they just say what they mean and get off the stage?

Short story writers don”t feel the need for glittering ornamentation or writing casts of characters that are not directly related to the central thesis of the story.  A short story’s protagonist is never diverted for long from their path, not with the premise’s tease far behind and the end of the story looming just a few thousand words ahead.  No, the short story writer’s brain focuses on the immediate, the important, and nothing that does not support the central thesis is allowed to intrude on making a clear and utterly unambiguous end.  The short story always has a point, damn it!

Perhaps that is the central difference between the novelist and short story writer: While the novelist cannot resist the call of complexity, the short story writer cannot resist the need for simplicity.

But I fear that is too much of a simplification since many novelists write short stories and some short story writers manage to eke out a novel or two.  The answer might be the simple economic reality that you can’t make money writing short so most novelists chose not to.   That also is a simplification that begs the question I was asked at that long-ago dinner and today, after all those years since, I am left not knowing the answer.  I do know that I write short because I couldn’t do otherwise.  I feel impelled to reach a conclusion quickly, to make my point, tell my tale, and start on the next, and the one after that, and on and on.

And maybe novelists feel the same impulse to expand, expostulate, and discourse because they cannot do otherwise.

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The Challenge of Short Stories

by Gail Z. Martin

This year during my Days of the Dead online tour, I included excerpts to four of my short stories.  They are set in a completely separate world from my novels, and are written in first-person, rather than multiple viewpoints as with the books.

They also represent a real leap of faith for me, as I came to writing short stories after I was already published for novels—big, fat novels.  After fulfilling a contractual obligation to write 145,000 words, needing to write only 8,000 – 10,000 seemed a lot harder.  I’d never written first-person voice before, either.  But, as happens with many (if not most) anthologies, my friends—the anthology editor and fellow contributing authors—prevailed on me to give it a shot.

I was pleasantly surprised, and the stories were accepted, so I guess it went well.  And I found out that, for all the initial terror, it was also fun.  I’m hoping to contribute to a couple of anthologies a year, and to keep fleshing out the new world I’ve begun to explore.

I’ve also started to read more anthologies, which is also something new for me.  I loved Home Improvement: Undead Edition, which hit me just as we were remodeling my dad’s house.  Here are some anthologies that feature work by many of my writer friends for your short story bookshelf:  The Bad-Ass Fairies series, edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail; Writers for Relief, edited by Davey Beauchamp; Tales of Fortannis: a Bard’s Eye View, edited by Michael A. Ventrella; After Hours: Tales from Ur-Bar, edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray; and Blood and Devotion.

You can find my short stories in the Rum & Runestones anthology from DragonMoon Press, in The Bitten Word from NewCon Press, in the upcoming Spells & Swashbucklers from DragonMoon Press (2012) and a yet-unnamed UK anthology coming out next Fall.

And in case you missed them during the tour, here are the links to my short story excerpts:

An excerpt from my short story, “The Low Road”, coming in Spells and Swashbucklers from DragonMoon Press https://www.4shared.com/document/CQ5Af400/An_Excerpt_from_The_Low_Road_b.html

An excerpt from my short story “Steer a Pale Course” in Rum and Runestones from DragonMoon Press https://www.4shared.com/document/7YXNnm42/An_excerpt_from_Steer_a_Pale_C.html

An excerpt from my short story “Among the Shoals” in an upcoming UK anthology https://www.4shared.com/document/e5deWqV_/An_Excerpt_from_Among_the_Shoa.html

An excerpt from my short story “Vanities” in The Bitten Word anthology from NewCon Press https://www.4shared.com/document/aA6cz–z/An_Excerpt_from_Vanities_by_Ga.html


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