Posts Tagged ‘Gail Z Martin’

On The Edge – a look at ICE FORGED

Gail Z. Martin’s Days of the Dead tour kicks off today! For exclusive excerpts from her upcoming novel, ICE FORGED (UK | US | AUS) and other literary goodies, keep an eye on and her partner sites for the next week. Visit her website for further details or head on over to Goodreads and participate in a week-long Q & A with the author! 

Ice Forged, which debuts in January, is my seventh epic fantasy novel, and it’s definitely the darkest and edgiest so far.
My main character Blaine McFadden is exiled to a prison colony at the northernmost edge of his world, a place where the weather itself is a remorseless enemy.  Ice, snow, bitter cold and darkness pose as deadly a threat as the wild magic, assassins, and sadistic prison guards.  Extreme conditions tend to show what someone is really made of, because life or death hinge on luck and choices.

I suspect that Ice Forged feels edgier than some of my other books for a variety of reasons.  To some extent, that edginess is probably a product of our times, which have been tumultuous—to say the least.  I imagine it also reflects the changes I’ve experienced in the almost 10 years since I wrote my first novel—perhaps some of that “youthful enthusiasm” has worn thin on the edges.  Mostly, I feel that I’m bringing a different perspective to these books, one that’s a little grittier than before.  It’s a fitting feel for the book, which hinges on a few questions my characters have to answer—and ones that I hope my readers will also try on for size:

Who would you be, if everything you were and everything you had was stripped from you?

When there’s nothing left to lose, what would you do to survive?

How much would you give for a chance to put things right?

Blaine McFadden gets to find out.


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,

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


Having a Blast in the 15th Century–Arizona Renaissance Fest Update

Gail Martin joins us on the blog today to share her recent experiences from the Arizona Renaissance Festival and tons of great photos from the event. If you’ve never been to a Renaissance Festival it’s a pilgrimage every fantasy fan should make at least once. So check out what Arizona has to offer or let us know which festivals you frequent.


This was my fifth year as a guest author at the Arizona Renaissance Festival, and from having been a guest author equally long at the Carolina festival, I’ve gotten to know many of the vendors, performers and artists.  So going is always like an extended book signing plus old home week.

Ann Chamberlain hosted me at her marvelous bookshop near the joust, where I greeted passers-by, offered them a free bookmark, and managed to fry my cleavage (ouch!) despite what I thought had been good application of SPF 70 sunscreen.  It’s fun to see readers whom I’ve met from previous years and chat about the books, life, and in many cases, their writing projects which are still works in process (keep on writing!).


Fall 12 Winter 13 US COVERS: EARLY LOOKS

So we’re still in development on a lot of new covers for the Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Season, but many covers are done (or very very close to final) so we wanted to share those with you. There are some amazing titles here, which I can vouch for, since you know I read as much as I can while I’m working. As usual, we’ll be launching these one by one with some fabulous behind-the-scenes videos, covers in development, etc. So stay tuned! And keep checking in for the covers that are so deep in development that we can’t even show you yet…

I’ll be releasing the full credits in the individual cover launches, but I know some of you are going to be reposting, so here are the quick credits: Spirit’s End illustration by Sam Weber, design by Lauren Panepinto. American Elsewhere design by Kirk Benshoff, Folly of the World design by Lauren Panepinto, The Queen is Dead photo by House of Indulgence, Illustration by Don Sipley, design by Lauren Panepinto. The Red Knight illustration by Epica Prima, design by Lauren Panepinto. Seven Kings illustration by Richard Anderson, design by Lauren Panepinto. Out for Blood illustration by Nekro, design by Lauren Panepinto. Wolfhound Century design by Lauren Panepinto. 3 x Michael Cobley illustrations by Steve Stone, design by Kirk Benshoff. Godspeaker photo by Shirley Green, design by Kirk Benshoff. Jill Kismet photo by Michael Frost, Illustration by Gene Mollica, design by Lauren Panepinto. The Soddit illustration by Douglas Carrel, design by Lauren Panepinto. Emperor Mollusk illustration/design by Will Staehle. Cold Fire illustration by Larry Rostant, design by Peter Cotton. Sapkowski x 3 illustrations by CD Projekt Red & Massive Black, design by Lauren Panepinto. Rebellion design by Lauren Panepinto.

Heroes Who Inspired Me

I guess it’s not a big surprise, since I write about heroic adventures, that I get asked which fictional heroes within the sci-fi/fantasy genre inspired me.

I’ve  actually got a rather long list, but let me talk about some of my favorites.

I still remember the first time I saw Star Trek (the original series).  James T. Kirk captured my imagination.  From Jim Kirk, I learned that a good leader never asks from followers what he isn’t willing to do himself. That a leader takes risks and sacrifices for his people. That some decisions are a choice between two undesirable outcomes, and that innocent actions can have unintended consequences.

Sam Gamgee is another of my favorite heroes.  Everyone thinks of Aragorn or Frodo as the hero, but to me, Sam’s the real hero of the piece, the unremarkable person who is in over his head and carries the day because of loyalty and never-say-die determination.

Emma Peel from The Avengers is definitely high on the list, not only for her wardrobe.  There were very few women in action roles when I was a kid and even fewer who kicked butt.  Emma Peel could hold her own (and even rescue Mr. Steed on more than one occasion) long before today’s cadre of demon hunters, and she was way ahead of her time on the leather jumpsuits and high heels.  In 2009 when I was a writer Guest of Honour at FantasyCon in Nottingham, England, I had the pleasure of meeting Brian Clemens, the media Guest of Honour, who helped originate The Avengers.  It was terrific to have the chance to tell him how much the show meant to me.

Vanyel Ashkevron broke my heart.  Vanyel is the tragic hero of Mercedes Lackey’s The Last Herald Mage series, and a character who felt so real to me that I grieved when the books ended.  He enabled me to see the world very differently, and for that, I’ll always be grateful.  I stayed up until the wee hours one night at Lunacon for the chance to thank Mercedes Lackey personally.

Then there was Karl Cullinane in the Guardians of the Flame series by Joel Rosenberg.  As a high school D&D player, I loved his through-the-looking-glass universe, and could identify with the characters who struggled to live up to the heroic qualities of their role playing alter-egos when real life took an abrupt and dangerous turn.

More recently, John Sheridan from Babylon 5 and Mal Reynolds from Firefly made my heroes list.  In Sheridan, I saw someone who had the capacity to grow and adapt when he came to realize that his certainty about the dividing line between enemies and friends could be badly mistaken.  Mal Reynolds saw everything he believed in go down in flames, something that happens to everyone sooner or later.  He hadn’t made his peace with that, but he found a reason to keep on going–“You can’t take the sky from me.”

I’ll name a few more: Alaric Morgan from Katherine Kurtz’s Camber of Culdi series,  Han Solo, Kate Connor (Carpe Demon—gotta love a mom who hunts hellspawn and has to be done in time for the carpool line), Sarah Connor (Terminator—hell hath no fury like a mom with a mission), and a current fictional favorite from outside the genre, China Bayles from Susan Wittig Alberts’ mystery series, who reflects the unexpected growths and losses of a certain point in life.

There are so many more, I think this discussion will need to continue on my Facebook page, so join me there, and I’d love to hear YOUR favorite genre heroes!

Where I’ll be in March-April

– Guest Author at the Arizona Renaissance Festival March 23-24
– Signing at Books a Million, Carolina Mall, Concord, NC 3/30
– Signing at Park Road Books, Charlotte NC 4/27

March Events

On either side of the pond, there are plenty of places to run into Orbit authors in March.

Thursday, March 1
Gail Carriger at Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego, CA, 7 PM

March 2-4
Kristen Painter at Fantasy on the Bayou, New Orleans, LA
Mira Grant at Consonance, San Francisco, CA

Friday, March 2
Gail Carriger at Murder by the Book, Houston, TX, 6:30 PM

Saturday, March 3
Gail Carriger at Book People, Austin, TX, 7 PM

Thursday, March 8
Jon Courtenay Grimwood at A Gothic Evening at Blackwell’s, Blackwell’s Charing Cross, London

Saturday, March 10
A. Lee Martinez at B&N at North East Mall, Hurst, TX, 2 PM

Wednesday, March 14
Amanda Downum at Dragon’s Lair Comics, Austin, TX, 6 PM

Saturday, March 17
Robert Jackson Bennett at Murder by the Book, Houston, TX, 1 PM

Wednesday, March 21
Ken MacLeod at Pulp Fiction Books, Edinburgh

Thursday, March 22
Amanda Downum at Pandemonium Books, Cambridge, MA, 7 PM

March 23-25
Mira Grant at AggieCon, Austin, TX

March 30
Gail Z. Martin at Books-a-Million Carolina Mall, Concord, NC

March 30-April 1
Mira Grant at Emerald City Comic Con, Seattle, WA

Book Trailer: The Sworn & The Dread by Gail Z. Martin

New from Orbit this month is THE DREAD, the thrilling conclusion to the Fallen Kings Cycle by Gail Z. Martin. Watch the trailer for THE SWORN and THE DREAD below.  Both are available in stores now!

To find out more visit Gail’s website for information on the Fallen Kings Cycle and other books by Gail.  Or connect with other fans of the series on Facebook and enter for the chance to win one of several fabulous prizes.

What are you afraid of?

I’m a firm believer that the things that scare us make a good starting point for fiction.  By that token, THE DREAD covers a wide range of fears: war, famine, plague, family discord, demonic possession, the restless undead, gruesome lingering death, ghostly visitations, maleficent necromancers, and rampaging zombies, shapeshifters and vampires.  And, oh yeah, the prospect of divine, soul-sucking retribution.

What’s not to love?

My characters have the bad luck to live in interesting times, when their kingdoms are threatened from within by revolution, treason, anarchy and plague, and from without by foreign invaders.  Fate has put them smack in the path of key events, but despite prowess in battle and magic, my characters definitely aren’t certain of victory.  As with many of the things we fear in real life, putting things back the way they were before isn’t an option.  So they’ve got a choice between really, really bad and maybe-we-survive-and-its-not-as-bad-as-it-could-have-been.  Sound familiar?  I’ve been there, and I’m betting you have, too.

Throw into the mix some very human characters who have their own hopes and fears.  A warrior hopes to live long enough to see the birth of his twins.  A queen is given a Hobson’s Choice between her duty to her crown and her obligation to her child.  A king must sacrifice his honor—and maybe his soul—to save his people.

Because most of us have been in a bad place trying to decide whether we have a way to make it, if not into a better place, at least into a not-as-bad place, I think that readers can identify with the struggle.  Lately, we’ve all also watched the world we knew shift and buckle around us, transforming into something very different…and grappled with the idea that the new “normal” may never resemble the old familiar past.

When that kind of shift occurs (and we all know that shift happens), humans display a range of reaction: rage, violence, hyper-religiosity, denial, bargaining, and sometimes, self-destruction.  All of those factors play out across the war-scarred canvass of THE DREAD, as it becomes increasingly clear to peasants and kings alike that nothing will ever again be as it had been.

The real question is, when all of life’s moorings have come undone, what will you make of where you find yourself?  Will it bring out your inner hero, or your internal traitor?  Will you freeze or fight?  When the choice is adapt or die, will you survive, and can you do it with some kind of honor left?

Those aren’t easy questions, and no one really knows how he or she will respond until they’re in that situation.  My characters find themselves facing those choices, and as their world crumbles around them, it’s up to each of them to see what he or she is really made of.

THE DREAD – Dark magics, swordmanship and sorcery

The Dread, the second fantasy title by Gail Z Martin in the Fallen Kings cycle, set int he same world as the Summoner seriesOut now is The Dread (US | UK | ANZ), the second and final part in Gail Z. Martin‘s Fallen Kings Cycle. This compelling epic fantasy series began with The Sworn ( US | UK | ANZ) and is set in the same world as her highly regarded Chronicles of the Necromancer series, and I’m very happy to say this has turned out to be a magnificent finale to the whole story arc. If you haven’t tried any of Gail’s books yet – don’t worry, you can jump right in at The Sworn without having read any of the Necromancer series. And here’s why it’s worth giving it a go:

Gail’s a master at weaving together a world together intricately and spectacularly – and you simply cannot resist being awed by the strong sense of atmosphere she creates . . .  In the dark, medieval-gothic world of the Fallen Kings Cycle, necromancers wield deathly powers of magic, ghosts toy with the living, and vampires, werewolves and demons roam the land.  See some of the fantastic reviews this series has earned so far:

‘Top notch, engrossing fantasy’

‘Those who enjoy the large-scale fantasy of George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan should enjoy this’ Library Journal

‘I found myself caught up in the story and the characters almost from the first page …very enjoyable’

‘Very well-written and intricately plotted . . .  I can’t wait for the second book in the cycle, The Dread’ Civilian Reader

You can also read a sample extract right here. (more…)