Thursday, October 30, 2014

Days of the Dead Blog Tour - Heroes, Monsters, Monkeys and More by Gail Z. Martin - and Giveaway

Please welcome Gail Z. Martin to The Qwillery as part of her Days of the Dead Blog Tour!

Heroes, Monsters, Monkeys and More

By Gail Z. Martin

I broke some kind of personal record this year for participating in anthologies, with stories in eleven different collections, plus a couple of anthologies that won’t come out until 2015 but had stories due this year. Some of them were an easy fit for tales that tie into the extended universe of my books. Others required coming up with something entirely new, and several were a stretch into genres where I’d never written before. Three were illustrated, something new for me, and one was in a shared world of another author.

That’s why I enjoy being part of anthologies. They give me a sandbox in which to stretch and play, experiment and grow. I can do things in twenty or thirty pages that I can’t easily do in three hundred or four hundred pages, with less risk and more fun. Plus, these anthologies were run by friends of mine. It’s fun when your friends as you to come out and play.

Anthologies also make good sense. Because story collections are like sampler plates, readers who may not have ready any of an author’s novels may find a short story in an anthology by that author and go looking for other works. I’ve had a number of emails from readers who found my novels in just that way.

Another benefit of writing for anthologies is it can give you an idea of whether or not a new world you’ve created is sustainable for larger, longer works. I had written several stories in my Deadly Curiosities universe before I was asked to do a full-length novel. Because I had already tried out the world and its characters, taking on a novel in a whole new genre didn’t seem as daunting as it might have.

Some of the anthologies were for a good cause. Dance Like a Monkey was a charity anthology to help the family of the late C.J. Henderson with medical expenses. I won’t make a dime from it, but C.J. was a friend of mine and I’m happy to contribute to something that may help his family through a rough time.

Athena’s Daughters, an anthology about adventurous women characters written by wild women authors, portrays female characters in a positive light and does so with characters from a wide variety of ages, ethnicities, circumstances and physical abilities. It helps to answer the hunger I’m seeing for more diverse main characters in speculative fiction. Readers want to read about protagonists who look like them, and for too long, the genre has relegated women, minorities and people with disabilities to the role of sidekick or secondary character, if they’re present at all. It’s got an all-new Deadly Curiosities short story that is pretty spooky.

Likewise, the Heroes anthology specifically called for superheroes who were diverse. Instead of a bunch of buff beefcake in spandex, you’ve got over-the-hill heroes, unlikely champions and superheroes who don’t fit the mold.

Unexpected Journeys and Unconventional Fantasy were membership-only anthologies for the British Fantasy Society and the World Fantasy Society, and both contained reprints of my story, Buttons. It’s a great way for me to connect with other professionals in the field who may see my story and want to talk about future anthologies or collaboration. Positive exposure doesn’t hurt.

My story for Big Bad 2 was a foray into horror, something I skirt but don’t set out to write most of the time. It was fun to write a story from the villain’s point of view, and I’m proud of the piece, especially since I considered it to be a stretch beyond my comfort zone.

With Great Power was another superhero anthology. C.J. Henderson personally asked me to write a story with a female hero because he said he wanted something really different and from a woman’s perspective, and he trusted me to deliver that. I was daunted by the request, but the unconventional heroine I supplied fit the bill.

In Icarus: A Graphic Novel, my short story was a stretch goal for the Kickstarter campaign, and it was written to a prompt by Icarus author Gregory Wilson, using his characters and attempting to match his voice and style. Quite a departure, plus it will be illustrated by LucasArts/Marvel artist Joe Corroney.

Realms of Imagination got another all-new Deadly Curiosities story, a good fit for a collection of urban fantasy stories.

Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens has a Sound and Fury Adventure, a spin-off from the steampunk universe my co-author and I created for our upcoming Iron and Blood steampunk novels. The anthology’s premise is just what it sounds like—stories incorporating steampunk and aliens. Who could resist?

Dreams of Steel 5 also has a Sound and Fury Adventure story, set in the alternative history Pittsburgh we created for the Iron and Blood books.

There’s also an upcoming story for a collection involving corsets, and a space-themed anthology for the Origins convention. Beyond that, who knows? I’m having too much fun to quit now.

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with never-before-seen cover art, brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for stories and books by author friends of mine. And, a special 50% off discount from Double-Dragon ebooks! You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Details here:

Trick or Treat: Enjoy an excerpt from Retribution, my short story in the Athena’s Daughters I anthology here:

And a bonus excerpt from He Was a Wonderful Man, a short story by my friend Janine Spendlove, from the Heroes anthology:

And a second bonus excerpt from Lunar Camp by my friend Maggie Allen, also in Athena’s Daughters I:

About Gail

Gail Z. Martin is the author of the new epic fantasy Reign of Ash (Orbit Books 2014) and Deadly Curiosities, a new urban fantasy novel (July 2014 Solaris Books), set in Charleston, SC. She is also author of Ice Forged in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, War of Shadows (Orbit Books, 2015), and Iron and Blood, a Steampunk novel (2015, Solaris Books) which will be co-authored with her husband, Larry N. Martin.  She is the author of The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven & Dark Lady’s Chosen) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn  and The Dread) from Orbit Books.  She writes two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures.

Gail’s work will appear in at several new anthologies in 2014: Clockwork Universe Steampunk vs. Aliens, Athena’s Daughters, Dreams of Steel 5, The Big Bad 2, Dance Like a Monkey, plus an illustrated story in Icarus: A Graphic Novel, Heroes (stretch goal author) the British Fantasy Society’s Unexpected Journeys and With Great Power, a superhero anthology. Other US/UK anthologies include Magic (Solaris), The Bitten Word, Rum & Runestones, Spells & Swashbucklers, and The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women.

Find her at, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on, at blog and She leads monthly conversations on Goodreads and posts free excerpts of her work on Wattpad

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a SIGNED Trade Paperback copy of Ice Forged (The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga 1) by Gail Z. Martin.

How:   Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on November 13, 2014. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I love how many anthologies have been coming out lately. I feel like we owe a lot to Kickstarter and modern social media for providing an easier method for authors and fans connecting and getting some great anthologies out to the world that traditional publishers would have never come up with. It's been a great resurgence of the short story medium for the speculative genre, in my own opinion.

  2. Haven't read one in a while... the last one I can think of was by Nalini Singh, set in her Guild Hunters series. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. My fave anthology is The WildCards series edited by George R.R. Martin and Melissa Snodgrass. Some of them are more anthology, some are mosaic novels, but they're really good.

  5. It's been a while since read an anthology. None come to mind.

  6. I don't really know about this genre, but one comment say Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series, i read this series too, and this series was my favorite read

  7. I enjoyed The Cat Who... series if you consider that a anthology.