Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Guest Author Gail Z. Martin talks about "The Spark that Starts the Fire" | Scourge & Vengeance Blog Tour


I'm delighted to host mentor and friend Gail Z. Martin for a stop on her blog tour, promoting Scourge and Vengeance, the first two novels in an exciting new series from Solaris Books! Gail is a veritable force of nature and a publishing powerhouse, and I took this opportunity to ask where it all comes from. What is her #WritersSpark...


The Spark that Starts the Fire
By Gail Z. Martin
Every story starts with a spark of an idea, something that catches the author’s imagination and then fans into a fire as the author fleshes out the idea with details, characters, dialog and actions.
I’ve had that spark happen with a character idea, a plot bunny, a setting, or even an object. For me, the spark is asking “What if?” I find one answer, and ask “and then what?” If I keep alternating “what if” with “and then what” the plot shapes up pretty fast.
Sometimes I’ll get a character in my mind and I need to come up with the right story and setting for that person, because he/she is real to me and fully developed. So I have to think of what sort of danger/problem that would fit the character, and where they’d live, what talents/abilities they’d have, etc.
In other cases, a myth, legend or ghost story will catch my attention, and I’ll want to come up with a larger tale to explain and incorporate it. Or there will be an odd historical situation, and I’ll want to use it, so I have to build a story around it. I’ve ended up creating stories because I come upon a really unusual, haunted, or historical object and wanted to tell its tale.
Or maybe there’s something cool about a time period that I haven’t seen a story deal with, so I’ll think about how to put a twist on that element and make it mine. So with Scourge and the rest of the Darkhurst series, I wanted to play with the concept of medieval city-states that were in an economic alliance and how that could foster intrigue and murder when you add in dark magic. I drew on the Hanseatic League and the Italian city-states for inspiration, as well as role models like Machiavelli and the Medici family.
Often, a setting will grab me. So with my Deadly Curiosities books, a visit to Charleston, SC made me intent on figuring out a fresh urban fantasy series that would be a natural fit for Charleston. The same is true with all of our books with real-world settings. I try very hard to make the setting/city a character in its own right, so that the story couldn’t happen the same way anywhere else. That often has me looking for local urban legends, haunted sites and ghost stories that I can tweak and weave into the books, and more than once, has changed the direction of the plot because I found something really awesome I needed to use!
Like every author, I’m also influenced by headlines, TV shows, movies, interactions with people at the grocery store. Something on the news will catch my attention, and I’ll think, what if there were vampires involved? Or magic? I’ll see a movie, TV show or book deal with a topic, and wonder what would have happened if they had done it a different way. That’s often the spark of something that is wholly original, but still rooted in its inspiration. Or I’ll be people-watching at a restaurant, mall or airport and see someone do something or overhear a conversation, and that will spark a tangent, or a character, or a plot bunny.

For me, the spark of inspiration is everywhere. I usually have more ideas in my head than I have time to write! That’s good for readers, because the tide of books won’t be subsiding any time soon!
~Gail Z. Martin

About the books:


Scourge: 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.

ISBN-10: 1781085587
ISBN-13: 978-1781085585
Purchase at:
Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2qWHHSN
Books-a-Million: https://bit.ly/2NFxxML

Vengeance: A Darkhurst Novel (Book 2)
(Winner of the Manly Wade Wellman Award!)

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…

ISBN-10: 1939704758
ISBN-13: 978-1939704757
Purchase at:
Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2CcohOd
Books-a-Million: https://bit.ly/2CejN9D

Enter the Giveaway:

Win a Kindle copy of both Scourge and Vengeance! Contest runs October 15th thru the 29th by Let's Talk! Promotions.


 About Gail:
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 SwornThe 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 AdventuresThe 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.

You can also find Gail on: Twitter @GailZMartin, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartinand free excerpts on Wattpad http://wattpad.com/GailZMartin.


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And because my mind makes bizarre connections--sparks, if you will...


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And so, with a loving heart, I offer you
Namaste
I’ve heard many translations. Here’s my favorite:
The light of the universe that shines within me recognizes
the light of the universe that shines within you.

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