Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day of the Dead Blog Tour with Gail Z. Martin

I am very pleased to have Gail Z. Martin with us today to help launch her Days of the Dead Tour. What is that you ask?. Gail has a new book, The Sworn, coming out in January, which begins a new cycle of the Chronicles of the Necromancer called The Fallen Kings. The early launch of this tour gives readers who haven’t read or discovered Gail Z. Martin an opportunity to catch up with the series to date  before the new book releases. And to help you do that, we have an exciting giveaway for this stop in the tour.

Fantastical Giveaway
One lucky commenter will receive an advance review copy of The Sworn and an additional two readers will receive a bonus-pack of The Blood King, Dark Haven, and Dark Lady’s Chosen.

Contest guidelines at the end of the post.

Gail’s Chronicles of the Necromancer fantasy series is an uncommon  genre crossover that will I believe greatly appeal not only to fantasy lovers, but urban fantasy and paranormal readers as well (readers who like Sharon Shinn's writing will likely love these as I do). The stories are strongly character driven and feature along with other races, spirits, vampires and shape shifters. There is a little romance, some heartache, some thrills and endless adventure. There’s lots more information about the books below Gail’s post.

Gail will be dropping in to respond to questions, so please make her welcome! 

You Can’t Do That in Fantasy!
by Gail Z. Martin

You can’t do that in fantasy! (Well, maybe you can!)

GailMartin2006 Folks who have read my books know that I write the stories that I want to read. For me, that usually means an action-packed book that is 95% adventure and maybe 5% romance. That seems to satisfy both male and female readers, and stereotypes aside, I’ve had many, many male readers (as well as female) confess that they’ve worried about the fate of the relationships among my characters, proving that even tough guys deserve a little love.

Another thing about books I like to read—they have vampires in them and ghosts and haunted places. So of course, the world I create has those things, too. That’s where I apparently broke another taboo about what can and can’t be done in fantasy.

vlad Apparently, conventional wisdom holds that vampires and werewolves are somehow out of place in an epic fantasy. Now, when a reviewer noted the “originality” of putting vampires (my vayash moru) in a medieval setting, I have to admit that I laughed for a good, long time. After all, good old Vlad the Impaler (the inspiration for Dracula) was a real Romanian prince who lived in the mid-1400s. Vampires and werewolves have figured in folklore the world over for thousands of years. If anything, shapeshifters and bloodsuckers are more authentically medieval than modern, even if Bram Stoker’s Dracula put a Victorian spin on the story and the tidal wave of urban fantasy has filled every major city with the undead.

DH_final_resized Unfortunately, when a lot of people talk about “fantasy” they really mean Lord of the Rings. Tolkien drew on a wealth of Northern European mythology, but he did not utilize all existing folklore themes. So you get elves and balrogs and orcs but not vampires and werewolves, even though the tales being told to medieval English and German children (as well as across Europe) included demons, witches, blood-drinking fiends, and people who could turn into animals. For me, all those folktales are part of the ancestry of high/epic fantasy, the original well of shared cultural consciousness that makes fantasy elements ring true.

To our medieval ancestors, not only was the real world a place of brutality and mystery, but the afterlife and the world of dreams were equally real and equally terrifying. Pre-science, pre-Enlightenment, every natural disaster and all illness was thought to be either the hand of God or the workings of evil forces. The forests teemed with beasts awful beasts, not just the packs of wolves that were known, but even more frightening monsters that could only be glimpsed. Dreams, visions and omens were seen as equally true as personal experience, and belief in magic, witchcraft and curses was pretty much universal. What we now refer to as folklore was the common understanding of how the world worked at that time, and it is full of supernatural elements. So for me, the inclusion of ghosts, magic and other supernatural elements is very authentic to the medieval time period.

magic In the end, we read what we like, and authors write what they enjoy creating. I truly hope that the world and characters that I live with in my head and share with you on paper become a familiar place you enjoy exploring.

Thanks for reading this post—it’s part of my week-long Days of the Dead blog tour, so please catch the rest of my posts, contests, giveaways and goodies at and my other partner sites. You’ll also find free downloads from my books, as well as freebies from some of my author friends as Trick-or-Treat favors.

Featured treat #3: Free download excerpt from ‘The King’s Bastard’ by Rowena Cory Daniells, plus a preview chapter of my new book, The Sworn.

Book Trailer for The Chronicles of the Necromancer Cycle

The Book Covers for The Chronicles of the Necromancer Cycle. These are a terrific covers and represent the books well.
If you would like to read my review of Dark Haven you can check it out here or read my interview with Gail from Fall last year.

Gail says that The Sworn can be read separately without prior knowledge of the first cycle of stories.  Here’s the cover and synopsis.
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?

The Sworn is Book One of The Fallen Kings Cycle, and it picks up the adventures of Tris, Jonmarc and the Winter Kingdoms gang six months after the end of Dark Lady’s Chosen.  There are all new challenges, lots of dark magic and the biggest threat Margolan has faced in 400 years.

Giveaway Guidelines

  1. One signed copy of an ARC of The Sworn when available and two Chronicles book bonus-packs of The Blood King, Dark Haven, and Dark Lady’s Chosen to be awarded to commenters drawn at random.
  2. To enter, ask Gail a question or comment on the percentage blend of romance and adventure in fantasy for you. Is it 5% and 95% like Gail’s or something different. Give us your thoughts.
  3. Entries open to residents of US and Canada.
  4. Entries must be received by midnight (EST) on November 3.
  5. Ensure you leave a way for me to contact you.
  6. If you can (not a requirement), share the link of the interview/giveaway on your favourite social media website or blog.


  1. 5% romance sounds about right to me. I like added sizzle that romance adds to a story but I don't like it taking over the story.


  2. I agree with 5% and you can find that ratio in movies and television too. Having a smidgen of romance ties a reader to the characters on a different level, in my opinion. ;)


  3. 5% with strong characters and story.

  4. I totally agree on the 5% of romance. I like how characters connect and the reader is drawn into their world.

    I have a question for Ms. Martin: How did you come up with the concept for this series?

    Thanks for being here and I am sooooo looking forward to The Sworn.

  5. What I consider good fantasy has just that added touch of romance to give at least two of the characters an emotional connection. I'll go as high as 75% romance as long as its a good story (and preferably tagged as "romantic fantasy" so I know what to expect! LOL)

  6. I had not heard of this series before. I have aded it to my TBR list on Goodreads.

    For the question - If I am in the mood for fantasy then 5% is good. If I am in the mood for PNR then I am going to increase it to about 25%. While I like some romance, I also want a good story with great characters.

    Thank you for the giveaway.

    melissagrantcpacfe at gmail dot com

  7. I like the 5% because I hate it when romance takes over a story and the side characters/plot become inconsequential to the Burning Desire
    and I've just realized how much werewolves and vampires have become tied to urban fantasy...
    thanks for the interview and giveaway!


  8. I like your formula of 5% romance. Romance is a nice addition to a epic fantasy but it doesn't have to BE the entire novel. I write fantasy as well as enjoy reading in the genre and I like to get to the epicness of the story, not get so caught up in the romance.

    I'm glad I stopped by today to learn about this series! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on one of my favorite subjects!

  9. I'm more a fan of 25% romance and 75% action. I like a story with a somewhat happy ending.

  10. The romance is always nice, but I think the proper balance totally depends on the individual story. A ratio that may work perfectly for one plot line, may also be totally inappropriate for another. I do, however, have a bit of a mushy side so I think I'd have to go with 25% romance...give or take a kiss or two!



  11. For the most part, romance is not a necessary part of my reader diet- but just like sugar- sometimes a smidgen makes a good treat. A whole lot usually leaves me feeling like I need a nap. : P

  12. Wow--I never expected the romance comment to generate this much discussion! I think there's also a difference between how much of the page count is consumed by the romance, vs. what an impact the relationship between characters has on their choices and actions. So in Dark Lady's Chosen, the actual romance page count is pretty small, but the relationships among characters drives a major and minor adventure plot thread. Great to hear from everyone!

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. 2% romance to 98% adventure is more along the line I most like. Empathizing with something from each story is the best reward


  15. It usually depends on my mood... some days I just some good kick-ass adventure whereas on sappier days a little bit more of romance is what I need. So I'm going to say as a general rule 80% adventure and 20% romance.


    spettolij AT gmail DOT com

  16. I prefer a zero percent of romance in my stories. Nearly every single book I have read has some kind of romance in it. I'm kind of sick of it. @-@
    That's why I prefer Fantasy, there is little to no romance in it.

  17. If done well, and if it helps drive the plot and advance the characters development, then I'm up for as much as 10-15% romance in my fantasy. Having said that, if it's just a tacked-on romance for the sake of satisfying a few readers, then please keep it to 5%.

  18. 5% sounds good to me as well. Too much can be really distracting from a higher ploy--but life involves romance a lot of the time, so it would be a little unrealisatic to cut it out completely!

  19. i can have more romance in a story, as long as it doesn't take over the story (i read romances for that), but i hate it when the romance is shoehorned in, even when it doesn't seem to fit with the characters.

    this series sounds great - i can't wait to read this!

    k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

  20. Hi Gail! I would like more romance so 75% adventure and 25% romance sounds good.


  21. I would have to agree, about 5% romance sounds about right. Excellent points about werewolves and vampires in traditional fantasy. I wonder how they gained that stigma and other things like demons and ghosts are acceptable in fantasy.


  22. I think for me I prefer something like 30% romance and 70% action. It adds a little more to the story because I tend to feel more connected to the characters if they are connected with someone....when characters have romantic intrests it seems like they open up a bit more revealing more about themselves. But, as long as the story keeps my interesting I am definitely negotiable on the percentages!! :)

    Wonderful post!

    -Wenj @ Black Lagoon Reviews


For bloggers comments are like water to a man (or woman) wandering in the desert. A precious commodity. I love to hear from everyone and do my best to respond to every post.

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