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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Virtual Book Tour -- Epic Fantasy Novel

Galen Hawkeye never wanted to be labeled a hero, but with his father's undead army casting a shadow over the kingdom, the land needed a legend. From a very young age, he had been groomed as a warrior, so it only seemed right when he strapped on the sword, enlisted his mage friend, and ventured forth to save his people. But he never planned on demonic trackers hunting him nor the love he found with a mysterious girl who happened to be on the same quest as him. Would he be able to stop the darkness descending before it swallowed him whole? 

The Golden Horn by M.A. Donovan is now available in print and kindle format.

Print Edition:

Kindle Edition:

Book Website:

I will be doing a virtual book tour throughout the entire month of February. There will be plenty of giveaways and contests. I still have some openings if anyone wants to host me during that month. Here is where you can find me this week:

February 1:
Disquieting Visions -- Paranormal and Fantasy Realm

February 2:
Melissa "Missy" Frye -- Incurable Disease of Writing

February 3:
4 the Love of Writing

February 4:
Indie Author News (New Release)

February 5:
Richard Stephenson

February 6:
Kristy Centeno

February 7:


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dark Fantasy vs. Horror -- Where's The Line?

Dark Fantasy vs. Horror—Where’s the Line?
By Gail Z. Martin

Several years ago, there was a commercial for a chocolate/peanut butter product where a man eating peanut butter out of a jar bumped into a man eating a chocolate bar. “You got peanut butter on my chocolate!” exclaimed one man.  “You got chocolate in my peanut butter!” said the other.

Every time I end up on a panel at a convention about the line between dark fantasy and horror, I think of that commercial.  “You got horror in my fantasy!  You got fantasy in my horror!”

I write dark epic fantasy.  At least, that’s what I’m told.  Everyone puts their lines in slightly different places.  “High” fantasy, so some say, has to have dwarves and elves, while “epic” just has to play out on a big scale with kings and queens and big, world war action.  “Dark” seems to apply to the size of the body count and how much of the mayhem occurs “on screen” vs. “off screen.”  If we read descriptions of blood flowing and heads rolling, as opposed to just being told “lots of people died,” that seems to be the threshold.

So with all that blood, what’s the difference between horror and dark fantasy?  I’m going to go out on a limb here (no pun intended) and give you where I draw my line, for what it’s worth.  I think it depends on whether the adventure is primary and the blood and horrific elements are secondary, or whether the focus is on suspense and fear, and no small amount of blood.

In other words, “You got blood on my adventure!” vs. “Your adventure is detracting from my sense of pervasive fear!”

There are definitely horrific elements in my books. There’s a fair amount of realistic battle violence with eviscerations, beheadings, impalements and severed limbs.  People get burned alive, trampled by horses, bled dry by vampires, ripped limb from limb, and get savaged by beasts.  Supernatural elements include nasty vampires and hungry shapeshifters, sadistic warlords and bloodthirsty necromancers, ghosts and barrow wights and ghouls that eat the dead, vengeful goddesses from the underworld with a taste for blood, animated corpses, menacing shadows and magicked monsters with rows of razor-sharp teeth.  Stolen souls and possession by spirits of the dead….I could go on, but you get the picture.  In Ice Forged, you get a look at what MWMD (Magical Weapons of Mass Destruction) can do, in a Doomsday weapon scenario played out on multi-continental level of cataclysm.

BUT, and for me, this is the issue, the adventure is always the focus.  All of the aforementioned horrific elements happen in service to the adventure.  Evoking fear and suspense are not the end goal.  There’s more at stake (again, pardon the pun) than seeing who gets out alive.

For example, in my new book Ice Forged, there is plenty of murder and mayhem, blood and death, and dark supernatural elements.  But for me, the adventure is always the primary focus.

Now doubtless others will have differing ideas on where the line is drawn, and I’d welcome comments.  But for me, as I think through my books, that’s how I see it.  

Most importantly, I want readers to have a thrilling ride.  I want my books to be the roller coaster you get off, pale and shaky but grinning from ear to ear, the one that makes you say, “That was fun—let’s do it again!”

Gail Z. Martin’s newest book, Ice Forged: Book One in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books), launched in January 2013.  Gail is also the author of the Chronicles of the Necromancer series (Solaris Books) and The Fallen Kings Cycle (Orbit Books).  For more about Gail’s books and short stories, visit www.AscendantKingdoms.com. Be sure to “like” Gail’s Winter Kingdoms Facebook page, follow her on Twitter @GailZMartin, and join her for frequent discussions on Goodreads.

Read an excerpt from Ice Forged here: http://a.pgtb.me/JvGzTt

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey comes with an excellent story line: Literary student Anastasia Steele is sent to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey for the college newspaper. They are instantly attracted to one another and Ana longs for more, but when she finds out about Grey's appetite for dominance, she's suddenly whisked into the world of BDSM. Grey hounds her into joining his world; Ana has doubts and too many fears of what may be expected. The contract she is given doesn't help to alleviate her concerns. The two of them begin their sexual relations and Christian Grey shows Ana what it would be like to become his submissive.

As a writer and fan of erotica, I was excited to pick up this book and see what all the hype was about. It sounded like a great story, but from the first page, I was a bit disappointed. First of all, I should say I'm not into books written from a first-person perspective, but this one was. I decided to keep with it -- after all, Fifty Shades is a huge bestseller so it couldn't be that bad, right?

It wasn't a bad read, but it made me wonder about her editor. For instance, the characters didn't "say" anything. They whispered frequently and murmured a lot. My favorite memorable line of the book was, "I rolled my eyes at myself". Hmmm....

The relationship between the main characters was great, but again I was disappointed at the lack of BDSM play which I expected after hearing the reviews. The book is 514 pages long and there are only two scenes involving bondage or any type of kinky sex. They spend a great deal of time (and many pages) dealing with the contract but in the end, nothing really happens with it in this first book. Quite a bit of time is also spent with Ana and Grey exchanging emails -- way too many emails in my opinion. I wanted more interaction between the two.

The sex wasn't bad, but not as frequent as it could have been for an erotic novel. It was a very long read. I found myself reading one chapter, putting the book down, and then picking it up days later -- and then forgetting what the previous chapter was about.

A bestseller? I'm still wondering how. There are far better erotic or bdsm novels out there; however, Fifty Shades of Grey wasn't horrible. It kept me company on those lonely nights when I had nothing better to do and this may be the right book for some women (or men). Kudos to you. As for me, I doubt I'll be spending money on the second book in the series.