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Days of the Dead—Get Ready for Ice Forged!

Welcome to my annual Days of the Dead Online Event. As always, I’ve got lots of treats—excerpts (from my own stuff plus some of my friends), audios, and even some giveaways for your first chance to get an advance copy of Ice Forged three months before it’s in stores!

For any fan of the supernatural, this week is the best time of the year.  Samhain, All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween, Dia De Los Muertos all in one week—what’s not to love?

What’s up this year?  For starters, Ice Forged—the first book in my new Ascendant Kingdoms series—will launch January 8.  It’s available now for pre-order, but you can read four different excerpts for free on my Days of the Dead partner sites—and three sites will be offering giveaways where the lucky winners can get their hands on a copy right away!

I’ve also got two new short stories in two different UK anthologies, Magic: An Anthology of the Esoteric and Arcane (from Solaris Books) and The Mammoth Book of Women’s Ghost Stories.  And even better, I’ve got free excerpts!

Drawings for signed copies of Ice Forged, so make sure you enter—you can’t win if you don’t play!

What are you waiting for?  You can get in on all the Days of the Dead fun on a treasure hunt/Trick-or-Treat just by visiting these sites.  And please, “like” my TheWinterKingdoms page on Facebook when you visit to get the goodies!

Here’s where the action is:

Remember—each partner site with an excerpt from Ice Forged has a different excerpt!

I’ll end with my favorite childhood blessing:  “From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night—good Lord, deliver us!”  (Even better, deliver the books so we can read all about it!)

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Why We Love Scarred Heroes

For me, people who have sailed through life to adulthood without any scars are not lucky, they’ve been deprived of life’s most valuable lessons—how to get back up again when you’ve been knocked flat on your ass.

The trick, of course, is to come to an understanding with your scars so that you learn from them but they don’t control you.  Depending on what caused the scar, that can be trickier than it sounds.

I believe everyone who lives past infanthood gets a few scars along the way,  but some people really do seem to live a charmed life, affording them no more than the emotional equivalent of a scraped knee, while other people end up in body casts.  You might think that the people who have coasted through unscathed are the lucky ones, but in my experience, folks like this often lack a level of empathy, making them incapable of really identifying with other people’s traumatic experiences.  That kind of pain, because it’s outside their personal experience, even by extension, seems impossible for them to understand.  Without being able to identify with someone else’s pain, loss or suffering, it’s impossible to truly care.  At best, these charmed-life folks are a little clueless.  At worst, they’re unsympathetic or judgmental—or indifferent.

All my heroes have scars—deep ones.  Without those scarring experiences, they would not rise to become heroes.  They wouldn’t have been prepared by the same life experiences, they wouldn’t have had to face their own shadow-side, and they wouldn’t have gained the courage that comes from knowing what you’re truly capable of withstanding.

Under extreme circumstances, some people collapse.  Others take an every-man-for-himself approach.  Heroes find something in themselves that will not give in, and resolve to leave no one behind.

Real heroes aren’t the people who get themselves out of danger.  They’re the ones who go back into dangerous territory—real or emotional—to bring others to safety.  In real life, they’re the fire fighters or soldiers or police officers who go into a dangerous situation when everyone else runs the other way.  They’re the grief counselors and coordinators of battered women’s shelters and safe houses for abused children who are willing to stare evil in the face to save someone, because more often than not, they’ve lived the battle themselves.  They’re the suicide hotline people, the AA leaders, the people who are there to call when there’s no one else to turn to. They’re credible because most of the time, they faced the dragon and lived to tell the tale—and then they turned around and went back into the fire to make sure others also get to safety.

My heroes have paid a high price, and they’ve earned their scars.  But their personal survival isn’t what makes them heroic.  It’s that, when given a choice, they turn around and put themselves in danger to save others.  Those are my kind of heroes.

Please enjoy this excerpt from “The Low Road,” my short story in the Spells and Swashbucklers anthology: http://www.4shared.com/office/CQ5Af400/An_Excerpt_from_The_Low_Road_b.html

And an excerpt from “Buttons”, my short story in the Magic: An Anthology of the Esoteric and Arcane here: http://www.4shared.com/office/20nwnf1S/Buttons_excerpt_1.html

 

 

 

 

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It’s time for the Hawthorn Moon Sneak Peek of Ice Forged on June 21—and you’re invited!

Ice Forged won’t be out in bookstores until January, but you can get a first look at the cover and read four different unique excerpts, plus plenty of other free downloadable fun like interviews and blog posts in my Hawthorn Moon Sneak Peek event June 21!

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 is Book One in my brand new Ascendant Kingdoms Saga.  Ice Forged will be available in stores and online world-wide in January 2013.  But you can read an excerpt here, plus get exclusive Q&A, interviews and other online goodies by visiting the partner sites, which are listed on my web page.

During the Hawthorn Moon event, you can find never-before-released excerpts, interviews, audio, and other goodies on a variety of great fantasy sites that have agreed to be part of this debut party.

Here’s where to find the 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.

SFSignal.com—Exclusive guest blog post:  Things I Learned from Writing Fantasy

BookLoons.com—Exclusive excerpt #1 from Ice Forged in early July

MagicalWords.net—What Level of Insanity Inspires an Author to Start Writing a Brand New Series? Posts 6/29

SciFiChick.com—Exclusive excerpt #2 from Ice Forged posts 6/22

FreeTheWriterInside.com—Exclusive excerpt #3 from Ice Forged

TheWritersLens.com—Why and How I Write—exclusive guest blog post

http://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!

Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms—A free short story, “Vanities” that’s never appeared before in the U.S. (Please “like” the page while you’re there!)

DisquietingVisions.com—an interview with Ice Forged main character Blaine McFadden

GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com—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 AscendantKingdoms.com web site, you’ll find the following “party favors”:

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

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

 

Interview with Verran Danning, master thief and sometime musician

Q:  Rumor has it you were exiled to Velant for theft.  Is that right?

A:  Really?  Well, maybe, if you count the time I stole that guard’s drink. No, wait.  I stole the wagon full of ale that was headed to the tavern where the guards drink.  Something like that.  Of course, it could have been for playing off tune in a crowded bar, although I like to think I do a bit better than that, most nights.  Then again, it might have been when I slept with the wife of the captain of the guard….really, does it matter?

Q:  And you met Lord Blaine McFadden during your transport?

A:  Well now, that’s a bit of a sore point.  I met a guy who called himself “Mick” when we were both on the boat to Velant.  Didn’t find out for six years that he was a bleedin’ lord!  By the gods, you go through prison with a fellow, pool your wages to set up a homestead with him and four of your best mates, and then out of the blue, you find out he’s a bleedin’ lord!

Q: Do you think Blaine McFadden can bring back the magic?

A:  Damned if I know.  But that vampire mage seemed to think so.  And that assassin sure seemed to think so.  I mean, have you ever heard about someone sending an assassin after a convict?  Where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire, I always say.  Mick’s a decent sort, for a murderer and all—but, from what little he’ll say about it, which isn’t much, the other fellow had it comin’, so it’s not really Mick’s fault about the killin’. Anyhow—magic?  Didn’t have much myself, but I missed it once it was gone.  So if there’s a way to bring it back, I’m in.  Never say Verran Danning passed up a good story…or a drink.

Interview with Kestel Falke,  courtesan, spy and assassin

Q:  You were once the most sought-after courtesan in King Merrill’s court.  How did you end up a prisoner in Velant?

A:  (Shrugs) Things can change so quickly at court.  Kill the wrong person, and everyone gets touchy.

Q: You met Lord Blaine McFadden in Velant?

A:  I met Mick at court, although he doesn’t remember.  That’s all right.  I’m good at keeping secrets.

Q: Rumor has it you share a homestead with McFadden, court-martialed soldier Piran Rowse, condemned murderer Dawe Killick and thief Verran Danning.  Isn’t that a little…cozy?

A: Let’s get this straight right now.  We’re housemates, not bedmates.  The boys and I have an understanding.

Q:  You’ve earned your Ticket of Leave and become a full colonist in the Edgeland colony.  Can Edgeland survive without Donderath?

A: I won’t lie to you.  It isn’t exactly comfortable up here, even when the supply ships come on a regular basis.  Commander Prokief up at the prison skims off the best of everything, and leaves the colonists with the dregs.  But then again, it’s not like Donderath goes out of its way to provision us, either.  We’re Merrill’s oubliette, remember?  We’ve got more herring than we know what to do with.  We can grow crops.  We survived Velant.  We’ll make do.

Q: Can Edgeland survive without magic?
A:  Well now, that’s the real question, isn’t it?

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Coming up next….

This month, you’ve got the opportunity to download the full short story, Steer a Pale Course, for free for a limited time.  I hope you enjoy this story, which takes place in my “Trifles and Folly” fictional universe, quite a departure from my full-length fiction!

June is always a big month online, with my Hawthorn Moon online sneak peek of the next book’s cover art.  You’ll get your first look at Ice Forged’s cover, plus excerpts and lots of goodies.

In June, you’ll have the chance to download a different full short story, Vanities, for free (again, for a limited time).  This story originally appeared in a UK anthology, The Bitten Word.

Once the short stories no longer appear for free on Facebook, they will be available for .99 on my www.ChroniclesOfTheNecromancer.com web site.

Enjoy!

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Watch for me at Balticon!

Once again, Ravencon in Richmond VA was a fantastic event.  From the steampunk Darth Vader to the wealth of panels to choose from, to the great dealer room, it’s always a well-run con and a darn fine party.

Personal panel schedules were not available when I checked in, so I started the con by showing up at the wrong panel (they let me stay), but I had a blast anyhow.  One of my favorite panels was on the “magical middle class”—characters in Harry Potter who weren’t main characters, but who kept the world running.  It was the perfect topic for a panel, and we had a full room with people who were not afraid to participate—which is ideal for those of us upon the panel who don’t want to do all the talking.

One of the evening highlights was an invitation-only scotch tasting party where I learned a lot about both scotch and Scotland.  As usual, the Capclave and Barflies parties were both well attended and great places for free-wheeling discussions.  And although I didn’t make it to the Belle Morte concert, I have it on good authority that it was fantastic, as was the masquerade, which I did attend.

Next up is Balticon, where I have a short story in the Spells and Swashbucklers anthology that will be having its launch party.  I hope to see you there!

I’ll be a panelist at Balticon in Hunt Valley, MD over the Memorial Day weekend, so please look for me!

My short story, “The Low Road” will be in the Spells and Swashbucklers anthology that will be having its launch party at Balticon, so that’s definitely an exciting element of the weekend for me.

If you’ve missed my latest signings, there should still be some signed copies of my books at Park Road Books and at the Books A Million in the Cotswold plaza in Charlotte.

What I’ve been up to!

In addition to being a panelist at Ravencon and Balticon, I’ve actually gotten some writing done!  I turned in a new short story, “Buttons” to Solaris Books for their “Magic” anthology.  I’ve completed the line edits for Ice Forged, and sent those back to Orbit.  And I’m making good headway on Reign of Ashes, the second book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga.

I’ll be working on Reign all summer, but I also owe a short story for a steampunk anthology, and am looking forward to writing that.

Otherwise, there have been some book signings, my monthly writing Meetup group, and family time.

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The Dread, Book Two in The Fallen Kings Cycle, is now available!

The Dread is the conclusion to the struggle for control of the Winter Kingdoms that began in The Sworn.  For those who have read my Chronicles of the Necromancer series, it’s the sixth book following the lives, struggles and adventures of Tris Drayke, Kiara Sharsequin, Jonmarc and Carina Vahanian, and the rest of the crew.

As plague and famine scourge the winter kingdoms, a vast invasion force is mustering from beyond the northern seas. And at its heart, a dark spirit mage wields the blood magic of ancient, vanquished gods.

Summoner-King Martris Drayke must attempt to meet this great threat, gathering an army from a country ravaged by civil war. Neighboring lands reel toward anarchy while plague decimates their leaders. Drayke must seek new allies from among the living – and the dead –- as an untested generation of rulers face their first battle.

Then someone disturbs the legendary Dread as they rest in a millennia-long slumber beneath sacred barrows. Their warrior guardians, the Sworn, know the Dread could be pivotal as a force for great good or evil. But if it’s the latter, could even the Summoner-King’s sorcery prevail?

So is this the last book in the Winter Kingdoms?  No.  But I’m going to step away from these characters for a while and give the survivors a much overdue rest  (the action of the six books takes place over the course of about two years, so they’ve earned it).  Later this year, I’ll tell you more about what comes next, but for now, I’m very excited to share the rest of the story with you and take you along on the dark and dangerous road to save the Winter Kingdoms.

Here are some extra goodies in celebration of The Dread’s launch:

  • “Like” my WinterKingdoms page on Facebook and enter to win a prize package of signed books, foreign editions and rare Advance Review Copies  http://on.fb.me/yRGfHD
  • Watch the video:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teyvxnIEITg
  • Four excerpts to get you started:
  • Excerpt #1 http://www.4shared.com/document/aypH5jjv/An_excerpt_from_The_Dread_chp_.html
  • Excerpt #2 http://www.4shared.com/document/W7IBgFfL/An_excerpt_from_The_Dread_chp_.html
  • Excerpt #3

http://www.4shared.com/document/E7QlVWJc/An_excerpt_from_The_Dread_chp_.html

  • Excerpt #4

http://www.4shared.com/document/xHN5lNvM/Dread_Excerpt_4.html

  • Order from Amazon through my link at www.TheWinterKingdoms.com and get special bonus downloads from a slew of my author friends!

And I’ll be out and about with The Dread, so catch me here:

  • Reading and signing at SheVaCon in Roanoke, VA Feb. 16 – 18
  • Launch party at Mysticon in Roanoke, VA from 7 – 9 pm in the Con Suite on Feb. 24
  • In-store signing at the Barnes & Noble at Carolina Place Mall, Charlotte NC on Feb. 4
  • In-store signing at Books-A-Million at Concord Mills, Concord, NC on Feb. 11
  • Watch for more in-store signings to come!

I’d love to hear from you—please comment on my blog or on Facebook, and of course, I always really appreciate it when you forward my posts to your friends.

I hope to meet you at a convention or signing this year.  Enjoy!

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Days of the Dead—Or should it be Days of the “Dread”?

Welcome to my annual Days of the Dead Online Event.  This year it’s more exciting than ever, with new book giveaways, free chapter and short story excerpts, guest author downloadable goodies, a new book video, new audio readings and all-new interviews with five of the baddest bad-ass vayash moru (vampires) in the Winter Kingdoms!

For any fan of the supernatural, this week is a time of mystery.  Samhain, All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween, Dia De Los Muertos all in one week—you just know something big is going to happen.

What’s so special?  I’m looking forward to the launch of The Dread, book Two in the Fallen Kings Cycle.  It’s available for pre-order, but you can read four different excerpts for free on my Days of the Dead partner sites.

I’ve also got two new short stories coming out in anthologies in 2012—Spells and Swashbucklers with DragonMoon Press and a UK anthology that I can’t name yet.  But you’re going to get never-before-seen sneak peeks at these two stories plus two other short stories of mine that I’ve never offered excerpts of before.

There’s also a brand new book video for The Sworn and The Dread and it’s premiering during this tour, too.

Several of my author friends have also provided excerpts as Trick-or-Treat goodfies.  You’ll find download links sprinkled throughout the partner sites.

Four different partners are doing drawings for signed copies of The Sworn (and other prize packages), so make sure you enter—you can’t win if you don’t play!

The Broad Pod from Broad Universe has an all-new audio reading from one of my favorite vayash moru scenes in the whole series, so please listen in.

What are you waiting for?  You can get in on all the Days of the Dead fun on a treasure hunt/Trick-or-Treat just by visiting these sites.  And please, “like” my TheWinterKingdoms page on Facebook when you visit to get the goodies!

Here’s where the action is:

  • Orbit Books (www.OrbitBooks.net)—book giveaway plus blog post and an interview with Lord Uri of the Blood Council and a chapter excerpt from The Dread, along with my new book video for The Sworn and The Dread
  • Solaris Books (www.SolarisBooks.com)—book giveaway plus an interview with Lord Gabriel of the Blood Council
  • DoubleDragon Books (http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/)—a Q&A with me about power and immortality
  • SciFiGuy.ca—a book giveaway plus interview with Kolin, helper to Lady Riqua of the Blood Council
  • MidnightSyndicate.com—fantastic music to listen to while reading my books (I listen to it while I write)—they’ll be doing another giveaway contest for The Sworn
  • Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist http://fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com/—a fourth excerpt from The Dread plus a book giveaway contest
  • The BroadPod (http://broadpod.posterous.com/)—A reading of one of my favorite vampire scenes in the Chronicles of the Necromancer series.
  • ChroniclesOfTheNecromancer.com—An interview with Lady Astasia of the Blood Council plus the Days of the Dead overview and a special Q&A with me about why I love the Blood Council, and a different chapter excerpt from The Dread, and sample chapters from books by several of my author friends—and the all-new book video!
  • TheWinterKingdoms on Facebook  (please “like” my page!) a downloadable excerpt for “Steer a Pale Course” and “Among the Shoals Forever”—two of my never-before-excerpted short stories, plus excerpts from books by some of my author friends.
  • DisquietingVisions.com—an interview with Laisren, vayash moru armsmaster at Dark Haven, plus a third excerpt from The Dread, download links for excerpts from several of my author friends and an excerpt to “Vanities”—another never-before-excerpted short story of mine with plenty of vampires! And a sneak peek excerpt from my brand-new Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (coming in 2013).
  • TheWinterKingdoms.com—pre-order The Dread and get free downloadable excerpts from more than a dozen of my author friends!
  • Twitter.com/GailZMartin—Links to two more of my never-before-excerpted short stories,  “Among the Shoals Forever” and “The Low Road”, plus links to downloads from some more of my awesome author friends!
  • MySpace.com/ChroniclesOfTheNecromancer.com —Yet a different excerpt from The Dread plus links to more author friend downloads!

Want to see the brand new book video for The Sworn and The Dread?  It’s right here (and please share it with your friends)!

Here it is—the brand new book trailer for my newest books—The Sworn and The Dread (Books One and Two in the Fallen Kings Cycle).  See it here first!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teyvxnIEITg

As plague and famine scourge the winter kingdoms, a vast invasion force is mustering from beyond the northern seas. And at its heart, a dark spirit mage wields the blood magic of ancient, vanquished gods.

Summoner-King Martris Drayke must attempt to meet this great threat, gathering an army from a country ravaged by civil war. Neighboring lands reel toward anarchy while plague decimates their leaders. Drayke must seek new allies from among the living – and the dead –- as an untested generation of rulers face their first battle.

Then someone disturbs the legendary Dread as they rest in a millennia-long slumber

beneath sacred barrows. Their warrior guardians, the Sworn, know the Dread could be pivotal as a force for great good or evil. But if it’s the latter, could even the Summoner-King’s sorcery prevail?

Here’s the link to excerpt #2 of four from The Dread: A link to an excerpt from my new book, The Dread—available for pre-order now!  http://www.4shared.com/document/W7IBgFfL/An_excerpt_from_The_Dread_chp_.html

Remember—each partner site with an excerpt from The Dread has a different excerpt!

And as an extra Trick-or Treat goodie, here’s a link to a deleted scene from Scimitar Moon by my good friend, author Chris Jackson http://jaxbooks.com/jaxblog/?p=144

I hope you have a lot of fun and enjoy the free “treats” during this online tour—load up on lots of virtual goodies (without worrying about calories or tooth decay).  Enjoy!

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Interview with Astasia

In honor of my Days of the Dead blog tour, I’d like to introduce you to one of my vayash moru (vampire) characters from the Chronicles of the Necromancer and Fallen Kings series.  Vayash moru play an important part in my books, aiding–and sometimes opposing–Tris Drayke and Jonmarc Vahanian.

Here, I’d like to introduce you to Lady Astasia, the youngest member of the Blood Council.  She is beautiful, wily, and guided both in life and undeath by a strong sense of self-interest.  In the conflict with Temnotta, she has deserted her Blood Council colleagues to site with the invaders, making her and her brood outcast, and making the rest of the Council bloodsworn for her destruction.

Q:  What has immortality taught you?

A:  Most mortals are fools and the rest are liars and cheats.  Only the strong deserve to survive.

Q:  You’ve often set yourself against the purposes of Jonmarc Vahanian.  What are your intentions in this conflict?

A:  I would see him in his grave.

Q:  You’ve left the Blood Council, and some would say, gone rogue.  Now, the Winter Kingdoms face an outside threat.  Where are your loyalties?

A:  I want to see the palaces of the Winter Kingdoms burn.  I wish to see the power of the Volshe gain ascendance and to serve the ancient Nachele as they rise from their crypt-prisons to conquer.

Q:  What is your biggest disappointment about immortality?

A:  That the strength, speed and wealth I have gained as an immortal are not readily accepted by mortals as proof of the superiority of the vayash moru.

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Why I love the Blood Council by Gail Z. Martin

In my Chronicles of the Necromancer and Fallen Kings Cycle series, there is a ruling council of vayash moru (vampires) called the Blood Council.  At least in the seven lands of the Winter Kingdoms, the Blood Council forces vayash moru to play relatively nicely with each other, at the risk of sanctions including permanent destruction.

Not surprisingly, every now and then, some vayash moru decide that immortality means never having to follow the rules.  That’s when it gets interesting.

The original Blood Council had five members:  Gabriel, Rafe, Uri, Riqua and Astasia.  Each of the Council members was chosen for the Council because (at least for now), they represent the strongest and eldest of the immortals.  They and their broods agree to abide by Council rulings and to punish those who go rogue or refuse the Council’s discipline.

It’s a good idea; too bad it doesn’t work as well in practice as it does on paper.  The seeds of conflict are sown right in the personalities of the Blood Council themselves.

Lord Gabriel, one of the Council’s eldest members, a one-time war lord who is also a mystic and a man of many interests, and who has deep devotion to Istra, the Aspect of the Sacred Lady who is the patron of Those Who Walk the Night.  The Blood Council also enforces the Truce between mortals and the vayash moru that enables the vayash moru to exist with relatively little wide-spread persecution in five out of the seven of the Winter Kingdoms.

Lord Rafe was an ascetic and a scholar in life.  He thirsts for knowledge, and tends to favor the rational even when circumstances prove that rationality is not going to carry the day.  Rafe has retained his idealism, which is both a good point and a flaw.

Lord Uri gained his wealth and title after his death as a card sharp who lost money to the wrong vayash moru and took blood as a substitute for gold.  Uri is cynical, jaded, motivated by money, and yet intensely loyal to his own brood, even when they go astray, as several of his get did during the insurrection (Dark Haven/Dark Lady’s Chosen).  Uri likes being underestimated, but there’s more to him than meets the eye, including a dollop of thieves’ honor.

Lady Riqua was the wife of a wealthy merchant, and she retains a bourgeoisie practicality after death.  She is fiercely protective of her brood, and has been known to adopt the get of other vayash moru if she believes they are being mistreated.  Unlike Uri and Rafe, Riqua sees value in continued interaction with mortals, and sees value in peaceful coexistence beyond the terms of the Truce.  She and Gabriel willingly create vayash moru-mortal alliances out of practical considerations, regardless of the scorn this earns them from Uri and Astasia.

Lady Astasia is the youngest of the Blood Council, and the most unpredictable.  Having gained her title, power and wealth through highly questionable means while alive, Astasia plays by her own rules after death.  Seduction, betrayal, and games for the sake of games amuse her.  She loves intrigue and politics, as well as the sheer excitement of setting mortals against each other just to watch the outcome.  Astasia bet on the vayash moru Insurrection and lost.  Much of her brood was destroyed, either in battle or by the other members of the Council who became Bloodsworn against her and her get.  In the Fallen Kings Cycle, Astasia allies with the Temnottan invaders, hoping to see the thrones of the Winter Kingdoms fall in flames.

Really, with all of those personalities in the same room, how could I not love writing about the Blood Council?  (Maybe I’ve been on too many nonprofit and corporate committees.)  Just among the five of them, you get the best and worst of immortality, the promise and the failure of human nature.  I have a blast writing about the Blood Council, even though they aren’t actually main characters, because they’re so deliciously “real”, and they give me the sandbox to explore the good, the bad and the ugly parts of immortality.  But don’t take my word for it—take a look at my books and get to know them for yourself!

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Catch me at a con!

Fall is just around the corner, and that means that I’ll be back on the convention circuit.  If you’re headed to one of these conventions, please stop by one of my panels/readings or catch me in the hall and say hello!

Dragon*Con—Labor Day Weekend

Here’s my official panel schedule:

My #DragonCon schedule: Title: Breaking In: How it’s Done Description: Trying to break into the SF/Fantasy/Dark Fantasy/Urban Fantasy markets? Fri 01:00 pm : Manila / Singapore / Hong Kong – Hyatt

My #DragonCon schedule: Title: Broad Universe Reading Description: Quick cuts read by some up and coming female authors; their own works or works they find influential. Time: Fri 10:00 pm Location: Greenbriar – Hyatt

My #DragonCon schedule: Title: 101 Fascinating/Gruesome Ways to Kill a Character Description: What’s the most fascinating way to kill a character? Time: Sat 10:00 pm Location: Manila / Singapore / Hong Kong – Hyatt

My #DragonCon schedule: Title: Podcasting Writers Roundtable Description: Join popular Podcast authors to discuss the changing face of books and online media. Time: Sun 11:30 am Location: 204 – Hilton

My #DragonCon schedule: Title: Broad Universe Reading Part 2 Description: Quick cuts read by some up and coming female authors; their own works or works they find influential. Sun 01:00 pm Location: Fairlie – Hyatt

My #DragonCon schedule: Title: Down and Dirty Internet Marketing Description: How to get your stuff noticed. How to interest potential readers, viewers, listeners, etc. Time: Sun 05:30 pm Location: 201 – Hilton

Then Oct 14-16 I’ll be at Capclave, Gaithersburg, MD.  The week of Halloween, Samhain, Dia De Los Muertos and All Hallow’s Eve is my Days of the Dead online blog event, Oct. 24 – 31.

Nov            18-20 I’ll be at Philcon in Cherry Hill, NJ, and then I hope to be in several Charlotte-area bookstores in early December.

Next year is already shaping up.  Here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come:

I’ll be chillin’ in Boston for Arisia in January!

I’ve accepted invitations to SheVaCon and Mysticon (both in Roanoke) in February, and should be back in Charlotte book stores with the launch of The Dread, Book Two in The Fallen Kings Cycle.

In March I’ll be at Ravencon as well as at the Arizona Renaissance Festival outside of Phoenix.

I’ve also been invited to Book Expo (BEA) in June, although I don’t have a schedule of events yet.

That’s what’s solid so far—I’ll add dates as I get confirmations.  And if you just like to talk about the craft and business of writing, please join me in person for my monthly Meetup, the  Thrifty Author Publishing Success Network!

 

 

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Welcome to the 2012 Hawthorn Moon Sneak Peek of The Dread!

Still reeling from plague and civil war, the Winter Kingdoms face an invasion force from across the Northern Sea led my a dark spirit mage in the name of ancient, vanquished gods. Summoner-King Martris Drayke and an untested generation of new rulers must stand against an unholy alliance of shadowy invaders.  To prevail, Tris must win the uncertain support of the Dread, spirit-beings that stand guard within the sacred barrows over an even more fearsome threat imprisoned within.  In the balance lies not only the freedom of the Winter Kingdoms, but Tris’s life and the soul of his young son, whose untested magic might be the biggest spoil of war.

The Dread is Book Two of The Fallen Kings Cycle, and it picks up the adventures of Tris, Jonmarc and the Winter Kingdoms gang immediately after the events in The Sworn.

The Dread will be available in stores and online world-wide in February, 2012.  But you can read an excerpt here, plus get exclusive Q&A, interviews and other online goodies by visiting the partner sites, which are listed on my web page.

During the Hawthorn Moon event, you can find never-before-released excerpts, interviews, audio, video, and goodies, plus book giveaways on a variety of great fantasy sites that have agreed to be part of this debut party.

Here’s where to find the goodies:

OrbitBooks.net—First look at the cover art for The Dread plus a Q&A with Tris Drayke.

SFSignal.com—Contest to win a free autographed copy of The Sworn plus an exclusive excerpt from The Dread

BookLoons.com—Three times is a charm—get lucky and win a free autographed copy of The Sworn!

http://epheros.livejournal.com/—Can a female author write a believable male character?  Can a mortal write a believable undead, or shapeshifting creature?  Read my exclusive blog post and find out!

Twitter.com/GailZMartin—Get the first look at Chapter 1 of The Dread on my Twitter feed before it posts to my web site

Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms—A different exclusive excerpt (there are three completely different excerpts in all) from The Dread plus an interview with Jonmarc Vahanian (Please “like” the page while you’re there!)

DisquietingVisions.com—Are magical objects a cheat?  Find out what I think in my special blog post!

http://uparoundthecorner.blogspot.com/–All-new Q&A with me talking about writing, passion and the love of magic.

GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com—Brand new audio of me reading an excerpt from The Dread

MySpace (GailZMartin) and my ChroniclesOfTheNecromancer newsletter—an interview with Adaine, the Ghost Whore

And on my ChroniclesOfTheNecromancer.com web site, you’ll find the following “party favors”:

  • Another exclusive excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Dread  (one of three different excerpts)
  • An interview with Kiara, Queen of Margolan
  • An all-new author video message with hints about the new series after The Dread!

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

 

Watch here:
http://youtu.be/DrpyY7McXgg

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