A big welcome to Gail Z. Martin as part of her blog tour with Let’s Talk! Promotions for Scourge and Vengeance from Solaris Books.
By Gail Z. Martin
I’m currently juggling a dozen active series—epic fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk/alternate history, snarky monster hunter and paranormal romance. After next year, two of those series will be finished, but at least two more new ones will take their place. That should mean that bringing out a new book every month gives every series its due, but it doesn’t quite work out that way.
My head is a very crowded place.
Authors have all kinds of ways to juggle their worlds and try to keep everyone’s details straight. I admit that mine is a lot less high tech than that of many other authors—I keep a lot of it in my head, and consult previous books/manuscripts when I can’t remember. Sometimes, I need to check a name. Usually it’s hair color, eye color, and height. I always say that I mean to start a list…and haven’t yet (although my husband, Larry N. Martin, does a lot of our editing and I think he’s started the list for me….)
The epic series are the Chronicles of the Necromancer (with the new Legacy of the Necromancer sequels starting in 2019), The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (with one prequel book half-written), the Darkhurst series (the third and final book comes out in 2019) and the new Assassins of Landria series (begins October 23). They are all separate medieval universes, none of which are our own, but which are modeled after the real world with major adjustments (like magic and the supernatural, as well as being independent from real world history).
In the epic series, each world has a different form of magic, so the rules and mechanics change, as does the structure of who can do magic and who can’t and the limits of power. Each series also has a different religious structure, so the gods/goddesses, rituals, belief system, and myths/legends/sacred stories also change.
The political structure is also different, even though they are all, technically, kingdoms. The Chronicles/Legacy series has a more traditional king/feudal system. One of the differentiating elements is that the main character and king of Margolan, Tris Drayke, is also a good necromancer. The Ascendant Kingdoms books deal with the aftermath of a devastating war that destroyed the leadership and infrastructure of the two warring kingdoms and severed the bonds that enabled people to control magic. So those books are about starting over, and remaking the government from the ashes of the war. The Darkhurst series has a king, but the kingdom is made up of autonomous city-states, much like the Hanseatic League. And in the Assassins of Landria series, we see the kingdom and its players through the eyes of the monarch’s best assassins.
Switching up the key elements—as well as having a different cast of characters in each book—keeps it fresh for me, so I don’t feel like I’m writing the same stories over and over. It’s a challenge to figure out how to do things differently, drawing on history as well as imagination and different occult traditions. That’s what makes writing fun!
The urban fantasy series (Deadly Curiosities, the Night Vigil, Spells, Salt and Steel) and the new male/male urban fantasy/paranormal romance series (Badlands and Witchbane written under my Morgan Brice pen name), all share a common magical system and co-exist in our real world, with the addition of supernatural creatures and magic being real. The books vary in their locations and the mission of their protagonists, but the characters themselves make cameo—and sometimes bigger than cameo—appearances in each other’s books. Our steampunk/alternate history Iron & Blood world crosses over with the Storm and Fury Adventures, and will also crossover with an upcoming Morgan Brice series. Having the shared world and crossovers makes the urban fantasy seem more alive and exciting for me, because readers can experience a bigger, more interconnected world with an expanded scope.
I do write notes to myself on details—ages, likes/dislikes, and those pesky height, eye and hair colors. My book outline keeps me pretty honest, and I also keep my outlines with all the notes to myself that get scribbled on the margins, so I can refer to them with the next book. I’ll admit that I’m less of a file/binder person and more of a stack/pile person, so my system won’t work for everyone.
Please come visit my worlds and wander around, meet the characters, and follow the plot threads. There’s a lot of new territory for you to explore!
A Darkhurst Novel
In a city beset by monsters, three brothers must find out who is controlling the abominations.
The city-state of Ravenwood is wealthy, powerful, and corrupt. Merchant Princes and Guild Masters wager fortunes to outmaneuver League rivals for the king’s favor and advantageous trading terms. Lord Mayor Ellor Machison wields assassins, blood witches, and forbidden magic to assure that his powerful patrons get what they want, no matter the cost.
Corran, Rigan, and Kell Valmonde are Guild Undertakers, left to run their family’s business when guards murdered their father and monsters killed their mother. Their grave magic enables them to help souls pass to the After and banish vengeful spirits. Rigan’s magic is unusually strong and enables him to hear the confessions of the dead, the secrets that would otherwise be taken to the grave.
When the toll exacted by monsters and brutal guards hits close to home and ghosts expose the hidden sins of powerful men, Corran, Rigan and Kell become targets in a deadly game and face a choice: obey the Guild, or fight back and risk everything.
Vengeance (Winner of the Manly Wade Wellman Award!)
A Darkhurst Novel (Book 2)
Fighting the monsters that killed their family and friends cost undertaker brothers Corran and Rigan Valmonde their home and livelihood and made them wanted men—but the worst is yet to come.
The city-state of Ravenwood is wealthy, powerful, and corrupt. Merchant Princes and Guild Masters wager fortunes to outmaneuver League rivals for the king’s favor and the best trading terms. Ambitious and ruthless leaders use betrayal and assassination to gain their ends. Blood magic conjures monsters to further the goals of the ruling class, and the price of stolen power is paid for by the deaths of commoners. Now, the fate of Ravenwood hangs in the balance as rival city-states maneuver to gain advantage.
When Corran and Rigan and their friends became outlaw monster hunters and fled beyond the walls of Ravenwood City, they thought they had defeated the source of the abominations that killed so many of their friends and loved ones. But the more successful they become at destroying the creatures, the more they realize a greater evil is at work – larger and more monstrous than they ever could imagine…
Gail Z. Martin is the author of Scourge: A Darkhurst Novel, from Solaris Books. Gail is also the author of Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel and Trifles and Folly 1: A Deadly Curiosities Collection, the latest in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC; Shadow and Flame is the fourth book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga; The Shadowed Path (The first Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures collection), as well as Iron and Blood a Steampunk series, and Spells, Salt, & Steel, both co-authored with Larry N. Martin.
She is also author of Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen); The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities and Tangled Web. Gail writes three ebook series: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures and The Blaine McFadden Adventures. The Storm and Fury Adventures, steampunk stories set in the Iron & Blood world, are co-authored with Larry N. Martin.
Gail’s work has appeared in over 35 US/UK anthologies. Newest anthologies include: The Big Bad 2, Athena’s Daughters, Heroes, Space, Contact Light, With Great Power, The Weird Wild West, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, Alien Artifacts, Cinched: Imagination Unbound, Realms of Imagination, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens, Gaslight and Grimm, Baker Street Irregulars, Journeys, Hath no Fury and A Haven Harbor Halloween.
Win a Kindle copy of both Scourge and Vengeance! Contest runs October 15th thru the 29th.