Hawthorn Moon Sneak Peek Event with Gail Z. Martin

Gail Z. Martin, author of The Fallen Kings Cycle series (THE SWORN and THE DREAD), unveils her sneak peek of ICE FORGED  Book One in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, coming from Orbit Books in 2013.

Gail’s giving everyone a first look at the cover art for ICE FORGED, as well as book excerpts, author Q&As and more as part of her Hawthorn Moon Online Sneak Peek Event.  She’s got exclusive goodies spread out across more than a dozen partner sites, and you can find out about it all on Gail’s site, www.AscendantKingdoms.com.

Here is the cover. Gail also answers some questions about ICE FORGED and about her writing life.


Q:  Tell us a little about  how you came to write ICE FORGED.

A: I’d been playing with the idea of what if magic broke (as it nearly did in the Chronicles books), and what if we had a post-apocalyptic medieval world, and what if a world sent its convicts to the northern rim (instead of, in our world, Georgia or Australia)….and I had an idea of where I wanted to go.

I like stories that test the mettle of a character and reveal what he/she is made of.  In Ice Forged, the main characters have lost everything when they were disgraced and sentenced to a harsh prison colony.  When the magic dies and the Continent is destroyed in the war and the resulting apocalypse, the life they’ve made for themselves as colonists is jeopardized.  The discovery that Blaine is the only one who can restore the magic set him and his friends on a dangerous journey that will pit them against powerful immortal enemies.  The fate of their world rests in the hands of a group of convicts.  Succeed, and they win not only their freedom, but the ability to shape the future of the world.  Fail, and face the wrath of the gods knowing you have condemned your world to darkness.

Q:  What is your Hawthorn Moon Sneak Peek Event?

A:  I started doing the Hawthorn Moon Sneak Peek Event back in 2008, and it’s become something my readers have come to expect.  The solstice (aka the Hawthorn Moon) was an important event in my first book, The Summoner, and the name and timing just stuck.  It’s my online unveiling of the cover art for the new book, along with excerpts, interviews, all-new guest blog posts and lots of fun stuff spread out over a dozen or so sites.  To find out all the goodies and all the partner sites, please visit www.AscendantKingdoms.com.

Q: What’s your favorite way to interact with fans/readers?

A: I love to go to sci-fi/fantasy conventions as a writer guest/panelist, and to be a guest author at Renaissance Festivals.  That gives me a lot of in-person time with readers and with other authors.  I’m also very active on Facebook (Winter Kingdoms) and Twitter (@GailZMartin), and getting more active on GoodReads and Shelfari.  Plus I blog at DisquietingVisions.com.  I love to hear from readers with comments on any of those sites!

Q: How much fact is in your fiction?

A: While my books take place in a medieval setting, they don’t occur in our world or our Earth history.  So while I try to be factual in terms of the period weaponry and the technology and customs of the time, I can take a lot of liberties because I’m not writing about Earth history.

I’ll research the load capacity and trajectory of a catapult or trebuchet, for example, and the kinds of foods that were popular during a certain period (for me, usually between 1350 – 1660 in Western Europe), as well as general clothing trends, common technology, etc.  But because I’m not writing about Earth history, I can have a little give-and-take in the dates when an advancement appeared, for example.  I can borrow from contemporary cultures.  And because magic is always central to the plot, I also research historic and present-day thinking on ritual, magical objects, and the properties of herbs, gemstones, etc.  I also try to make sure that the words I use would have been from the era, so I avoid anachronistic phrases or word choices.  Other than that, I have a lot of freedom!

Q: What movie star would be perfect for (your main character) and why?

A: Of the current stars, probably Chris Hemsworth (Thor).  He’s got the right build and the right look, although Blaine’s hair is a bit darker!

Q: What makes your book/characters unique?

A: I bring a lot of myself into the writing process, so I don’t think anyone else would write my characters the same way I do.  I also approach a book to tell the story on several levels: the main plot (action), the characters’ growth/lessons learned, the evolution of the relationship among the characters, the magic, and the world itself as a character.  I believe that approach gives the books a certain depth that lets you immerse yourself and make a connection.  I also enjoy coming up with magical systems that work a little differently, which shapes the characters’ choices and frames what they can and can’t do.  I also love to incorporate ghosts and other supernatural creatures into the books, but it’s important to me for them to really be a part of the kingdom’s culture and society.

Q: What are your top three reasons for writing?

A: #1 If I don’t write, the ideas start pounding on my head to get out, and it gets very stressful.

#2 I’m much happier and less stressed when I write (and as they say, if mama ain’t happy….)

#3 When I’m not writing, I feel as if a part of myself has been cut off.  (See #1)

Here’s where to find the Hawthorn Moon sneak peek goodies:

OrbitBooks.net—First look at the cover art for Ice Forged plus a Q&A with me about the new Ascendant Kingdoms Saga series.

SF Signal—Exclusive guest blog post:  “Things I Learned from Writing Fantasy”

Book  Loons—Exclusive excerpt #1 from Ice Forged coming soon in early July

MagicalWords.net— “What Level of Insanity Inspires an Author to Start Writing a Brand New Series?” coming soon on 6/29

SciFiChick—Exclusive excerpt #2 from Ice Forged coming soon on 6/22

Free The Writer Inside—Exclusive excerpt #3 from Ice Forged

The Writers Lens—Exclusive guest blog post: “Why and How I Write”

SandraSaidak.com –What are the challenges of creating a new series? Why is the Ascendant Kingdoms set in a post-apocalyptic medieval world?  Read my exclusive blog post and find out!

Twitter.com/GailZMartin—Directions to all the goodies that are part of the sneak peek event!

Disquieting Visions —an interview with Ice Forged main character Blaine McFadden

Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms—Gail’s short story “Vanities”, never-before-seen in the US

Ghost In The Machine Podcast—Brand new audio of me reading an excerpt from Ice Forged

MySpace (GailZMartin) and my ChroniclesOfTheNecromancer newsletter—an interview with courtesan/spy/assassin Kestel Falke.

And on my website, you’ll find the following “party favors”:

  • And exclusive excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Dread  (one of four different excerpts)
  • An interview with master thief Verran Danning

Thank you for checking out my Hawthorn Moon sneak peek party.  Enjoy!

About Gail Z. Martin:

In addition to Ice Forged: Book One of the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, Gail Z. Martin is the author of The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven and Dark Lady’s Chosen ) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle from Orbit Books (Book One: The Sworn and Book Two: The Dread).  For book updates, tour information and contact details, visit www.AscendantKingdoms.com

Gail is the host of the Ghost in the Machine Fantasy Podcast , and you can find her on Facebook, GoodReads, BookMarketing.ning, Shelfari and Twitter @GailZMartin. She blogs at www.DisquietingVisions.com.  Gail’s short fiction has been featured in four anthologies: Rum and Runestones and Spells and Swashbucklers from Dragon Moon Press, The Bitten Word from New Con Press (UK) and the upcoming Women’s Mammoth Book of Ghost Stores (UK).


Condemned as a murderer for killing the man who dishonored his sister, Blaine “Mick” McFadden has spent the last six years in Velant, a penal colony in the frigid northern wastelands of Edgeland. Harsh military discipline and the oppressive magic of the governor’s mages keep a fragile peace as colonists struggle against a hostile environment. But the supply ships from Dondareth have stopped coming, boding ill for the kingdom that banished the colonists.

Now, McFadden and the people of Velant decide their fate. They can remain in their icy prison, removed from the devastation of the outside world, but facing a subsistence-level existence, or they can return to the ruins of the kingdom that they once called home. Either way, destruction lies ahead…

ICE FORGED, Book One in Gail’s brand new Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, will be available in stores and online world-wide in January 2013.  Click to see a larger version of the cover.